It has been found that blood volume increases by approximately 20-30 per cent during pregnancy. Hence, the supply of iron and vitamins too needs to be increased so that our body can make haemoglobin. Many women lack this extra amount of iron required during pregnancy, and this causes dilution of blood, making the haemoglobin concentration fall. Mild anaemia is quite common and normal during pregnancy. However, more severe anaemia can put the baby at higher risk of suffering from anaemia during infancy. Also, if the woman is significantly anaemic during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, she is at greater risk of having a premature delivery or an underweight baby.
Hence, it is very important to take adequate care and follow the recommended diet in order to avoid anaemia during pregnancy.
Here are a few diet tips and home remedies that can help you to prevent anaemia during pregnancy.
- Maintain a diet that is rich in iron. Make sure you include foods like beef, chicken, fortified cereals, oatmeal, beans, dark leafy vegetables, dry fruits, broccoli, beet, in your diet, as they are rich in iron.
- Make sure you also eat foods rich in vitamin C as well. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb more iron. Thus, increase your intake of citrus fruits such as oranges and sweet-limes.
- Anaemia might cause a dry mouth and a red and sore tongue. Rinse your mouth, especially after meals, with warm water. You can add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and rinse your mouth with it, 3 to 4 times a day.
- In most cases anaemia is not just due to deficiency of iron but caused due to lack of nutrients and vitamins. So, apart from a wholesome diet, taking multivitamins can help to cure anaemia during pregnancy.
- Avoid beverages like tea and coffee, as they contain caffeine, which hinders the capacity of bones to absorb iron.
- Food items like tomatoes, spinach and chocolates should be avoided. These food items are rich in oxalic acid, and they hinder the absorption of iron in the body.
- You may consider taking extra iron supplements but iron supplements can often cause constipation. Drinking adequate amount of water will help avoid constipation.
- The risk of anaemia increases with alcohol consumption and smoking. A pregnant woman should, thus, stay away from alcohol and cigarettes.