Managing Anemia During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, the volume of blood in your body increases by about 20-30 percent—and so does the amount of iron you need, since iron helps your body produce more red blood cells, which then carry oxygen to your tissues and to your baby.
Many women lack the iron needed for the second and third trimesters, leading to mild anemia. However, some experience more severe anemia, which can increase the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and baby’s risk of anemia later in infancy.
“During your first prenatal appointment, we use a blood test to check for anemia,” said Physician Assistant Sarah Brock. “Beyond that, eating a balanced diet that incorporates iron-rich foods is the best way to prevent anemia. If you have questions about nutrition or supplements, we are here to help!”
Risk factors for iron-induced anemia include being pregnant with multiples, having two pregnancies close together, a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, heavy pre-pregnancy menstrual flow and morning sickness-related vomiting. You might feel tired, dizzy, short of breath, have trouble concentrating and notice a rapid heartbeat or pale skin.
Good nutrition is your best friend when it comes to prevention. This includes foods high in iron (dark leafy green vegetables, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fortified cereals and pasta, nuts and seeds). Iron and folic acid supplements can also help and can be taken with orange juice for better absorption.