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Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Many women during pregnancy become anemic and/or have low iron levels.  Low iron leads to true anemia which is a low red blood cell count.  Hemoglobin carries oxygen in red blood cells and your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin.  Why is this so common in pregnant women?  Pregnant women increase their blood supply by up to 50% while pregnant, and all this extra blood producing takes requires iron.  So, why do women need to increase their blood supply so much?  For one thing they are now circulating blood to the maternal side of the placenta and to the growing uterus.  It is also a protective mechanism so that the mother can compensate for blood loss after birth.

Iron supplements can be hard on the stomach and cause constipation.  Here are a few things to help increase your iron without upsetting your stomach.

  • eat foods that are high in iron: red meats, organ meats and dark green vegetables for example
  • cook with a cast iron skillet (learn how to season it properly so that your food won't stick)
  • Floradix-this supplement is available at health food stores.  It is a liquid with herbs and vitamins added for easy absorption.  It does not cause constipation or stomach irritation.
  • alfalfa-this is helpful in late pregnancy to help with digestion and also to increase levels of vitamin K which help with blood clotting and prevent blood loss and subsequent anemia post-partum
  • vitamin C-helps with iron absorption so take it or drink OJ with your other sources of iron
  • nettle tea
  • multi-vitamin with vitamin B12 for absorption
  • Slow Fe or iron in the form of ferrous gluconate which is easier to absorb than ferrous sulfate
  • chlorophyll-helps to make more red blood cells
  • don't drink milk with your vitamins-the calcium binds with the iron and then your body can't use it
Other suggestions are welcome in the comments!

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