Mild anemia in pregnancy is quite common. To avoid this and many other problems that can occur during pregnancy, read the Nutrition during Pregnancy page.
During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 40%, largely due to increase in plasma rather than red blood cells.
This will cause a decreased proportion of the protein hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, which carries oxygen to the body's cells, and the result can be anemia (or anaemia).
Although deficiency of any of several vitamins and minerals can produce anemia, the most common causes are deficiency of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.
This problem is not likely to affect the baby, but it will affect the mother. In fact, the fetus will deplete the mother's mineral and vitamin resources making anemia even worse.
Symptoms of anemia include:
Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital in order to ensure that both mother and baby get all the nutrients they need.
The Daily Value for iron is 18 mg, but pregnant women need much more, even 30 mg a day.
It can be difficult to get that much iron from the diet, so obstetricians may prescribe supplements for pregnant women on top of the advised pregnancy diet.
Foods rich in iron and other important nutrients to avoid anemia in pregnancy are:
Make sure you have enough folic acid, vitamin B12 and the other B-complex vitamins in your diet.
If you are prescribed iron supplements, take them with vitamin C to help the absorption of this mineral. Prescription iron supplements can cause constipation, so eat plenty of high-fiber foods and increase fluids intake, or you might decide to take a more natural form of iron supplement.
Vitamin C alone will often increase body iron stores. Five hundred milligrams with each meal is a suitable dose for this effect.
When taking iron supplements avoid taking them with tea or coffee, as these have been shown to reduce iron absorption.
Antacids and overuse of calcium supplements also decrease iron absorption.
Articles in this Series:
Pregnancy Friend by Jo Walker is a great website that will answer all your questions about pregnancy.
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