Pregnancy and tiredness generally go hand in hand. However some women suffer from very low levels of iron in pregnancy, which can leave you feeling awful.
Low iron in pregnancy is actually very common, especially in the second and third trimester but it can be easily rectified.
So why do you suffer from a low iron count in pregnancy?
Low iron occurs when you either have fewer red blood cells than is normal or if they don’t contain enough haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the iron rich protein that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.
The reason is because your blood volume increases by up to 50%, so the amount of haemoglobin circulating around your body gets diluted. This can leave you feeling exhausted and not able to function properly.
Signs of a low iron count in pregnancy
Feeling breathless Tired Dizzy Cold hands and feet Shortness of breath Rapid or irregular heartbeat Pale skin, lips and nails.
There are several types of anaemia but the most common are:
Iron-Deficiency Anaemia - When too little iron is produced, the body can become fatigued and have a lowered resistance to infection.
Folate-Deficiency Anaemia - A diet lacking folic acid can lead to a reduced number of red blood cells in the body, therefore leading to a deficiency.
Vitamin B12-Deficiency Anaemia - Although some women may consume enough B-12 in their diet, it is possible their body cannot process the vitamin, and this causes them to have the deficiency.
Treating anaemia can be done in two ways, the first is the natural way through diet and the second is through iron supplements.
If you are a meat eater then increasing the amount you are already eating will greatly help. Also include the following elements will help.
Green leafy vegetables Raspberries and strawberries Lentils and beans Eggs Potatoes Dried fruits Fortified grains, cereals and pasta Red meat, liver, pork, chicken and lamb.
These are just a few examples, I have personally found that adding spirulina powder to my smoothie really helped bring my iron level up quickly.
Due to the fact that low iron levels in pregnancy can be very harmful to you and your baby, your medical professional will keep a close eye on you. You will need blood tests to recheck your iron levels as needed.
They will also advise you to take an Iron supplement to boost your iron levels. Combining the supplement with natural methods is the most advisable way to increase your low iron levels in pregnancy.
When you are pregnant you need to make sure that you give your body the nutrition and supplements needed so that you are prepared for labour and birth. If you go into labour with low iron stores then you may have complications following blood loss.
Take this time to look after yourself and boost your iron count so that you can enjoy your pregnancy more and have more energy.
If you are concerned at all then make sure you contact your health professional.
Read more informative pregnancy, birth and baby articles at Maternity Mum Blog