A woman’s body and mind go through a plethora of changes during pregnancy.
From your mind trying to cope up with the unmatched pleasure of carrying a living being inside the womb and your body striving hard to get by with the turbulence of your pregnancy hormones and the physiological adaptations needed to sustain your baby- pregnancy, as someone rightly quoted is not a short-term diet but a long-term lifestyle change.
Amongst the various physiological, systemic, and metabolic changes occurring during pregnancy, increase in iron demands to sustain the growing foetus especially in the second half of the pregnancy is one of the most important ones.
Due to the increased demand for iron, there is always a physiological iron deficiency during pregnancy; however, when the haemoglobin concentration is 11gm/100 ml or less from the starting of the pregnancy, the lady is regarded as anaemic.
Causes of Anaemia during pregnancy are:
- The traditional Indian diet lacks iron and is insufficient by itself to fulfill the increased iron demands during pregnancy.
- Women who have heavy periods before pregnancy is at increased risk of developing anaemia when pregnant.
- Those with low haemoglobin concentration before pregnancy are also very likely to develop anaemia during pregnancy.
- Multiple pregnancies when the pregnant woman is carrying two or more fetus inside her womb.
- A woman who is pregnant soon after the birth of a child is at an increased risk of developing anaemia when pregnant.
- Teenage pregnancies or pregnant women below the age of 21 are also at increased risk.
- Increased fatigue and weakness
- Paleness of skin
- Shortness of breath on even mild exertion
- Cold hands and feet
- Feeling of giddiness
- Irregular breathing
- Increased heartbeat
- Pre-mature births
- An increased frequency of infections
- Cardiac failure
- Even a little blood loss during childbirth can be lethal if anaemia is not controlled.
- The baby may also suffer from low birth weight and even intra-uterine deaths.
- First of all, don’t panic as pregnancy-related anaemia can be easily controlled through optimal diet and proper medications.
- Administration and proper intake of iron and folic acid tablets.
- Increased intake of iron-rich foods like jaggery, whole wheat, figs, beans, and green leafy vegetables.
- Foods rich in iron such as apples, pear, pomegranate, and dried fruits such as raisins and prunes should be consumed daily.
- Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, tomatoes, and kiwis should be included in your daily diet for the proper absorption of iron.
- Use of iron utensils for cooking.
- Treatment of any underlying infections such as malaria, bleeding piles, and urinary tract infection.
Also, always keep in mind that your gynecologist knows what the best for you and your baby is. So, it is necessary that you always consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.