Hemoglobin is an important constituent of blood. They are oxygen carriers and hence it is very essential to maintain an optimum level of hemoglobin in our blood .This becomes all the more important during pregnancy days.
This is because the need for iron during this phase, increases and lack of iron in blood causes anemia.So, anemia can be termed as abnormally low level of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood.
During fetal development, there is an increase in the demand for blood.So, to cope with this demand (which increases by almost 50%), mother’s body starts making blood at a much faster rate. This means, baby development requires sufficient amount of iron in the blood .
If there is enough maternal blood volume its fine, otherwise the growing baby takes all the iron it requires without taking into consideration the amount of iron stored in the body. In such cases, where the need for iron is greater than the amount stored in the body, then this leads to anemia.
Anemia can lead to extreme tiredness, dizziness, irregular heart beat, pale skin etc. Therefore, it is essential to maintain adequate hemoglobin .It is also learnt that during pregnancy, if the mother is anemic –
- During first two trimesters, then the probability of preterm delivery is more.
- Then this effects the iron store of the baby at birth and so the chances of underweight new born increases.
- At later stage, then it can be quite dangerous when there is blood loss during delivery.
So, to prevent iron deficiency, every pregnant woman should take care of their diet and include iron rich food in their daily diet. Some the important sources are –
- whole grain cereals,
- green leafy vegetables like spinach,
- dried fruits like apricots,figs,raisins
- liver and red meats etc
However, while including iron rich diet, one should also include vitamin C to increase the iron absorption efficiency.Secondly; milk decreases the iron absorption efficiency.
So, pregnant woman should consume iron tablets with orange juice or vitamin C rich drink rather than milk.Thirdly, caffeine reduces the iron absorption efficiency.So, pregnant women should reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet.