Are you feeling increasingly tired and exhausted or are getting dizzy spells? Well, if you are pregnant then these symptoms are probably a normal part of the first trimester of pregnancy.
However in some cases it may be an indication of anemia in pregnancy. Anemia or iron deficiency is caused by a decline in the red blood cells or the lowered ability by the blood cells to carry oxygen.
When you are pregnant, the body naturally starts demanding more iron. This is because iron is required in the production of hemoglobin. This red blood cell protein component allows the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the tissue cells. During pregnancy there is around a fifty percent increase in the blood volume.
This causes a dilution in the red blood cells leading to anemia of pregnancy. Moreover the fetus requires a constant supply of iron for growth and development especially in the last few months of the pregnancy.
Unfortunately some pregnant women are unable to garner the requisite iron stores in the body leading to anemia and low hemoglobin levels. This condition is worse for women who do not eat well due to nausea and vomiting in the first trimester. Along with poor nutrition multiple pregnancies and having two pregnancies close together can place a woman at risk of anemia in pregnancy.
Some of the common symptoms that indicate anemia during pregnancy are fatigue, pale skin especially around your eyes, fingernails and lips, rapid heartbeat and palpitations along with headache, shortness of breath and irritability. Iron deficiency in pregnancy can lead to poor bith weight of the baby and preterm labor.
Before conception a woman needs around 15mg of iron supplements. This amount needs to be doubled when you are pregnant. Routine blood tests done during pregnancy to check for hemoglobin levels can help in the diagnosis of anemia.
If the levels are found to be lower than expected then the physician will recommend the specific treatment of anemia based on the extent of the problem, overall health and medical history. If you are found anemic then the doctor will recommend iron supplements of 60 to 100 mg.
For increased absorption of the iron, have your supplements with water or citrus juices on an empty stomach. Do not take the supplements with milk, tea or coffee. In addition to this include iron rich foods like spinach, red meat, whole grain bread, beans, lentils, potatoes, apricots and figs in your diet.
Vitamin C, B vitamins and proteins are some of the other dietary supplements that are essential for treating anemia in pregnancy. Since increased iron in the body can cause heartburn and constipation, intake of prune juice will help provide relief.