How to prevent anemia during pregnancy is important to know. This is because anemia is quite common in pregnant women and has the risk of causing various health problems in pregnant women and the fetus. This condition can even be fatal.
Preventing anemia during pregnancy is very simple and easy to do. Anemia in pregnancy generally occurs because there is an imbalance between the level of need and intake of nutrients to form red blood cells.
The need for nutrients to produce red blood cells will increase during pregnancy. This is because more red blood cells are needed to transport oxygen throughout the body, including the uterus, to support fetal growth.
If these nutritional needs are not matched with adequate intake, anemia will occur in pregnancy. Anemia in pregnancy can be iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anemia, or a combination of both.
How to Prevent Anemia During Pregnancy
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common anemia during pregnancy. So, one of the main ways to prevent anemia during pregnancy is to meet the daily iron needs of pregnant women, which is as much as 27 mg per day.
But remember, iron is not the only nutrient needed to form red blood cells. Intake of folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 is also needed to prevent anemia during pregnancy.
So, here are a few ways to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to produce red blood cells:
1. Take prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins usually contain iron and folic acid, which are good for the blood. Taking a prenatal vitamins once a day is an easy way to get essential nutrients to support the body’s production of red blood cells.
Usually, these vitamins will be given every time you control your pregnancy at the doctor or midwife. Therefore, make sure not to miss your obstetric examination schedule.
2. Take iron supplements
If your blood test results show low iron levels, your doctor may prescribe additional iron supplements on top of your daily prenatal vitamin.
When taking iron supplements, you should avoid foods or drinks high in calcium, such as dairy products, egg yolks, coffee, and tea, because these foods can reduce iron absorption in the intestine.
In addition to high-calcium foods, antacid drugs can interfere with the body’s iron absorption. So if you take this drug, make sure you take iron 2 hours before or 4 hours after.
3. Proper nutrition
Eating the right foods can fulfill the need for iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 during pregnancy. The following are some foods that you can consume to prevent anemia during pregnancy:
- Poultry, such as chickens or ducks
- Lean red meat
- Nuts and seeds
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and cabbage
- Fruits, such as bananas and melons
Apart from consuming the foods above, you should also eat foods high in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, strawberries, kiwis, and oranges. Vitamin C is needed by the body to absorb iron better.
Preventing anemia during pregnancy can be started early or before pregnancy because some women are at a higher risk of developing anemia, even before pregnancy. For example, women who have had many children or have hookworm infections.
Women with a vegetarian diet also tend to experience vitamin B12 deficiency anemia more often because this vitamin is generally obtained from meat.
Therefore, checking your health condition before planning a pregnancy is better. If indeed you have anemia, your doctor can provide treatment to overcome it before you get pregnant. That way, your body’s condition will be better prepared for pregnancy.
However, remember, do not take iron supplements without a prescription and at the correct dosage from a doctor because taking too many iron supplements can cause various side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.
If you are pregnant or following a pregnancy program, ensure that your iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 is adequate. The simplest and safest way is to regularly go to the doctor for pregnancy control and take prenatal vitamins recommended by the doctor.
reference: UCSF Health