Anaemic? And Pregnant?!

It is quite normal for a pregnant woman to feel tired. However, if the fatigue is due to anemia, then the matter should not be taken lightly. Anemia is a condition where the blood does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin required to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Symptoms

Detecting anemia during pregnancy can be a bit tricky and could go neglected. This is due to the fact that symptoms of being pregnant and having low red blood cell count are somewhat similar. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of anemia.

  • Paleness and fatigue
  • Dizzy spells
  • Breathlessness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lack of concentration

Most of the above symptoms could easily be mistaken for indications of pregnancy. Hence it is important to do a blood test (to check haemoglobin levels) in the first trimester to rule out anemia and to ensure that it is treated in time, if necessary.

Treatment

Mild anemia is normal during pregnancy since the body produces more blood to help baby’s growth. Doctors usually prescribe iron and folic acid supplements to manage this deficiency. Anemic conditions become severe if the pregnant woman’s diet does not provide adequate iron or if iron is not absorbed well enough by her body. Severe anemia could result in pre-term delivery or even under-developed babies. In order to avoid the serious complications of anemia, it is advisable to include iron rich foods in the diet and take iron supplements as prescribed by the doctor.

 

Prevention

Anemia can be prevented by eating well-balanced meals and increasing the iron-rich and folic acid rich foods in the diet.

Non-vegetarians can include:

  • Meat and fish
  • Eggs

Vegetarians can include:

  • Green leafy vegetable like spinach, broccoli and kale
  • Cereals and grains
  • Beans, lentils and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds

Apart from the above-mentioned iron-rich foods, fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C are also important as they help the body absorb iron from the food.

  • Citrus fruits – oranges, lemons and grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers

Eating well and making sure that the body gets enough iron should ensure an anemia-free pregnancy.

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