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Anemia During Pregnancy: How You Can Care for Yourself

by | May 14, 2019

A woman when pregnant may fall into the risks of iron deficiency that can lead to anemia. As the new life is growing, the body creates more volume of blood to nourish the fetus and provide it with essential oxygen and nutrients. If enough iron and few other nutrients aren’t provided, it may lead to anemia during pregnancy. Know more about how you can revert the same with a vegan diet.

anemia during pregnancy
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Iron Deficiency or Anemia During Pregnancy and How to Care for Yourself

Anemia is the absence of healthy RBCs, or red blood cells, in the blood and during pregnancy. If enough iron (among other nutrients) isn’t taken, it can lead to a deficiency of the RBC, thereby causing anemia. This can threaten the baby and mother if the problem is severe and goes untreated.

What Causes Iron Deficiency during Pregnancy?

As mentioned above, during pregnancy, a woman’s body produces as much as 30-50% more volume of blood to meet the demands of the growing fetus. According to WebMD, Anemia is a medical condition that occurs when the blood lacks enough red blood cells essential for carrying adequate oxygen to different parts of the body and the baby. Risk factors of anemia include low weight or preterm baby, anemic baby, postpartum depression, and even a child with delayed developments.

What are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency or Anemia during Pregnancy?

It must be noted that iron deficiency is the most common reason for anemia among pregnant woman, others being folate and vitamin B12 deficient anemia. This implies that there are other reasons for the same conditions as well. For instance, there are as many as 400 different types of anemia, but the most common (15-25% of all pregnancies) for a pregnant woman in the US is iron deficiency. If you have the following symptoms during pregnancy, you must visit your doctor at once:

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  • Palpitation or rapid heartbeats
  • Feeling of tiredness, weakness
  • Running out of breath
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Pale skin, nails, and lips
  • Weakness
  • Pain in chest
  • Cold feet and hands

It must be noted, some of these symptoms may occur even if one is not anemic, at the same time in the early stages of anemia, none of these symptoms may show up. Therefore, the best prevention method is to undergo routine blood tests. According to American Pregnancy.Org, chances of anemia increases if a woman is pregnant within short intervals, are carrying multiples, or if the woman has had heavy menstruation prior to pregnancy. Also, this occurs if women do not consume enough iron-rich foods.

How to Overcome Anemia during Pregnancy?

There are a lot of vegan sources of iron and other necessary nutrients you can take to reverse the effect of mild anemia. Medical professionals prescribe at least 30mg of iron a day to pregnant women. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be needed, and a regular consultation to the doctor is highly suggested. Here are some common vegan sources of iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 you can take to combat anemia and care for yourself:

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  • Dark and green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli are super rich in iron
  • Cereals and grain rich in iron like bread, legumes, peas, lentils (contain folate) and beans among others can be included in the diet
  • Foods made from soy like tofu, tempeh and soybean chunks among others should be taken
  • Beans like red kidney beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas are rich sources of iron.
  • Include seeds and nuts like pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and sesame, and hemp. You can also have cashew, almonds, pine and macadamia nuts and their unrefined and natural products like some nut butter.
  • Fruits rich in vitamin C like strawberry, lemons (and other citrus fruits), tomatoes and kiwis and veggies like bell pepper can help in iron absorption
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Please note, any of the above suggestions don’t, by any means, replace professional medical advice. They’re general guidelines. The above mentioned are some natural sources of iron to include in your diet. However, before going for any nutrient supplement externally, it is highly suggested to consult with your doctor. Have you faced any issue such as anemia while pregnant? Share with us in comments.


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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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