by Susan Tanner
Anemia during pregnancy is most commonly caused by an iron deficiency. Being tested for anemia early in your pregnancy is a good idea, but may not be enough, since anemia may still develop as your pregnancy progresses.
Although anemia is caused by an iron deficiency in your body, you will not need to worry too much about your baby, since he will be sure to get as much iron from you as he needs. Your baby will only be in danger of suffering from anemia if the situation is completely ignored.
How will I be able to tell if I am anemic?
Anemia should be easily identifiable in the blood tests that you take frequently throughout your pregnancy. The baby will start drawing on your iron reserves much more heavily around week 20, so you may develop anemia later in your pregnancy.
Common symptoms of anemia during pregnancy include:
* Feeling exhausted or weak
* Pale or light skin
* Fainting spells
Who is most at risk?
Pregnant women who have poor nutrition, due to nausea and vomiting or simply bad habits, are more at risk of developing anemia. Also, women who are carrying multiple fetuses may be at a higher risk, as two babies will deplete iron stores twice as much. Women who have two or more pregnancies relatively close together may be at risk for similar reasons.
How much iron should I be getting?
The recommended daily allowance of iron is around 15mg for women trying to conceive. Pregnant women will need to consume about twice that much each day. Your healthcare provider may advise you to start taking an iron supplement, although these are known to cause constipation, nausea, and vomiting. It may be wise to simply try and include many iron rich foods such as spinach, dried fruits, or liver in your diet.
Keep in mind that your choice of beverages and other foods will affect your rate of iron absorption. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C along with the iron rich foods will facilitate absorption, while consuming caffeine will hinder it.