Iron is essential during pregnancy and lactation.
It gives stamina to the mother, and is essential in proper brain development and blood cell formation for the baby. Also, it helps in treating and preventing iron deficiency anemia! Hence, incorporating iron-rich foods in your diet is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Iron rich foods can either be heme or non-heme based. Heme based iron foods are derived from meat (non-vegetarian), whereas non-heme based iron foods are derived from plants (vegetarian).
Non-Heme sources of iron include :
Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin (Hb) in the blood, and a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Iron deficiency anemia is an anemia which is caused by an insufficient amount of iron in the body.
During pregnancy, your body’s iron needs increase greatly, especially starting in the second trimester. In India, over 50% of all pregnant women have anemia, the majority of which is due to lack of iron. (WHO/NHD/01.3)
Symptoms may include feeling tired, weakness, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath and/or difficulty exercising, chest pain, cold hands and feet, pale skin, lips and nails and trouble concentrating.
Iron deficiency anemia can be prevented by eating well balanced meals and adding more foods which are high in iron. Also, remember to consume foods rich in vitamin C, as it helps your body’s ability to absorb iron. Treatment includes taking an iron supplement and/or folic acid supplement.
Pregnant and lactating moms: remember to ask your doctor about your hemoglobin levels to keep you and your baby healthy!
For additional information:
Blog post: 10 Super Iron-Rich Foods for Pregnancy & Lactation
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