Anemia and Pregnancy
What is Anemia During Pregnancy?
The most common cause of anemia in pregnancy is iron deficiency. It is important to be tested for anemia at your very first prenatal visit. Even if you are not anemic at the time of your first visit, you may still develop anemia as your pregnancy progresses.
Anemia is an iron deficiency in your body, but you don’t need to worry too much about your baby as he will ensure that he gets enough iron from you. You will in fact run short of iron long before your baby does. Your baby will really start to draw on your iron reserves around week 20. Your baby may only suffer from anemia if the situation is ignored. It is when you don’t get enough iron to keep up with your body’s demands that you may develop iron-deficiency.
How to Tell if You’re Anemic
The blood tests that you take throughout your pregnancy will tell you if you are anemic or not. Be sure to keep up with the tests as you may only become anemic later on in your pregnancy when your baby starts to draw on your resources. Some of the most common symptoms associated with anemia include:
Certain women are more at risk at for being anemic. Some of the most common risk factors include:
How Much Iron Should You Get During Your Pregnancy?
You needed about 15mg of iron per day pre-conception, which is a fair amount. Many women who aren't pregnant do not even reach the RDA each day. Now that you are pregnant you will need almost twice the amount of iron per day. Your health care provider will more than likely advise you to take an iron supplement to try and bring your iron levels up to what they should be. Be aware that taking iron supplements can often cause constipation, nausea and vomiting, so try not to rely solely on iron supplements and eat a healthy diet.
Maximize Your Iron Absorption
It is important to pay attention to what you drink with your iron. Taking vitamin C-rich foods along with the iron will increase absorption of the iron. However, taking caffeinated beverages along with high-iron foods will reduce the amount of iron that your body absorbs.
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