During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through significant changes. One of it includes an increase in the volume of blood – about 20 to 30 percent.
Unfortunately, pregnant women belong to the high-risk groups for anemia.1 Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough hemoglobin in the red blood cells to transport oxygen to the different parts of the body.
One of the most common causes of anemia during pregnancy is due to an iron deficiency. Many women lack sufficient amount of iron for the second and third trimesters.
While mild anemia is common during pregnancy, severe anemic symptoms should not be overlooked. There are several natural ways you can fight anemia.
1. Include Iron-Rich Foods
As mentioned earlier, iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia during pregnancy. Mild to severe anemia can be treated naturally with good nutrition, which means it is important to include specific food groups in your diet.
Including iron-rich foods in your daily diet can help fight anemia and avoid risks during and after pregnancy. The recommended daily intake of iron during pregnancy is 27 milligrams.2
Iron is available in abundance in both plant and animal-based food sources. However, it is important to know that iron present in animal sources are more easily absorbed by the body.3
Some of the most common iron-rich foods are as follows:
- Lean beef
- Lean Pork
- Beans, including kidney beans, soybeans, and lentils
- Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach
- Enriched rice
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Whole-grain and enriched bread
2. Have Enough Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is required by your body for the production of healthy red blood cells (RBCs). Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common during pregnancy and can be avoided by including the vitamin-rich foods in your diet.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B-12 during pregnancy is 2.6 micrograms.4 The safest way to provide enough vitamin B-12 for the body is by including foods rich in the nutrient in your diet.
Some of the vitamin B-12 rich foods are as follows:
- Milk and cheese
- Fortified soy milk and cereals
- Fruits like bananas
3. Eat Vitamin-C Rich Foods
Vitamin C ensures a better absorption of the iron present in the food. It aids the absorption of iron that takes place in the intestine. Therefore, if you are anemic during pregnancy, having more of vitamin-C rich foods can help in absorbing iron from the food.5
It is recommended to have vitamin-C rich foods along with the meals so that enough iron is absorbed by the body. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C by pregnant women is 80–85 milligrams.6
Some of the common sources of vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits like oranges
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
4. Step Out During The Day
Anemia is often associated with a lack of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D. Therefore, stepping out during the day to soak up some sun may help in getting enough vitamin D for the body.
Although it is not clear how vitamin D helps prevent anemic symptoms, studies have reported that there is an increased RBC production and, in turn, oxygen in those with higher levels of vitamin D.7
5. Make Yoga A Daily Practice
Yoga has had positive effects in the treatment of anemia.8 Therefore, practicing yoga and breathing exercises can improve the production of red blood cells, thereby improving the distribution of oxygen throughout your body during pregnancy.
However, care must be taken while practicing the postures as it may harm the baby or cause discomfort. Therefore, it is advised to practice yoga under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.
Natural remedies to treat anemia require a lot of patience as the desired results take time. However, as pregnancy involves not only one but two lives, it is important to communicate any new changes in your diet or routine to the doctor.
Sometimes, in severe cases, natural remedies may not be the effective way to treat anemic symptoms. In such cases, the healthcare provider may prescribe iron supplements for quick results. Make sure to stick to the dosage prescribed and follow the instructions to treat anemia.
|↑1||Le, Chi Huu Hong. “The Prevalence of Anemia and Moderate-Severe Anemia in the US Population (NHANES 2003-2012).” PloS one 11, no. 11 (2016): e0166635.|
|↑2||Iron. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3||Foods to Fight Iron Deficiency. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.|
|↑4||Vitamin B12. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑5||Shu, E. N., and S. O. Ogbodo. “Role of ascorbic acid in the prevention of iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy.” Biomedical Research 16, no. 1 (2005).|
|↑6||Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑7||Anemia. Vitamin D Council.|
|↑8||Sharma, Neena, and Ritu Gupta. “A study of yoga in anemic patients.” International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health 5, no. 3 (2016): 399-401.|