Your blood volume increases during pregnancy and with that increase it is common for your iron levels to drop it has diluted.
A reduction is expected but if you are feeling fatigued, dizzy, light headed speak to your midwife about natural iron supplementation along with increasing your absorption of iron.
It is not enough alone to consume more iron but increasing your ability to absorb it is just as important if not as important. You see eating good nutrient dense food doesn't count if your bodies digestive system isn't functioning to its full capacity. Enter a pregnant woman's physiology and we know her digestive system slows down.
The following foods all help with anaemia even though they are not high in iron. They are strengthening, liver cleansing, aid digestion and the assimilation of iron. These foods are also great to begin introducing to your diet as many of them are the foundation for your postpartum diet.
- Ghee or jaggery as a sweetener (can be found at your local Indian food stockist)
- Spices, turmeric, saffron & cinnamon
- Seeds, sunflower, pumpkin and black sesame seeds
- Spinach, asparagus, broccoli & mung dhal
Digestible iron is found in two forms, heme and non-heme. Heme found in animal produces and non-heme found in plant based foods. 95% of functional iron comes from heme iron but iron deficiencies are equally found in vegetarians and omnivores. The reason being we are not coupling our iron based foods with suitable foods that assist the absorption.
Foods high in Vitamin C help the absorption such as citrus fruits, dark green leafy vege, ball peppers, melons and strawberries. Try drizzling lemon juice over a salad or incorporate a squeeze of lemon in your morning water to get your system off to a good start for the day.
Foods to avoid are those that have tannins, these are found in tea, coffee and chocolate. I can hear you already thinking WHAT do I have to give these up. The answer is no but enjoy them at a different time of day than when you are either having your foods with iron or your supplement.
If you are going to take supplements do your research and speak to a naturopath about the most effective to use. Simply purchasing over the counter often doesn't hit the mark as the concentration is not high enough or of the best quality. You want to put the best into your body not only for you but your baby. Your naturopath can also help with any constipation that can be bought on due to the supplementation.
Increase water intake, add a good quality chlorophil, lemon to your water and slow cooked or soupy meals that are easy on your digestive system.