If you have been diagnosed with low iron or anemia in your pregnancy, you are not alone. Because of the increased demands on your body and the increase in blood volume, anemia is a very common condition in pregnancy. However, low iron means that you may feel tired, have headaches, get dizzy and have other symptoms of anemia. By eating iron-rich foods, you can help prevent or combat anemia in pregnancy and postpartum. Here are some foods to try:
- Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, etc.)
- Dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins, figs)
- Eggs (yolk)
- Black strap molasses
- Meat (red meat, liver, etc.)
You can also increase the amount of iron your body absorbs by eating your iron-rich foods with vitamin C. However, you should avoid calcium when eating iron-rich food or taking iron supplements because it can decrease absorption. Many foods you eat, like grains and cereals, have also been fortified with added iron. Check for these when doing your grocery shopping.
Your midwife or doctor will usually screen for anemia early in your pregnancy and again between 24-28 weeks. If you are anemic, it is also important to note that you may be asked to take a supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamin. Your practitioner can help you decide what is best for your case of anemia.
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Anemia. March of Dimes. April 2009.