Pregnant women are at risk for Iron Deficiency Anaemia; but if you are pregnant with more than one child, have had two pregnancies close together, are a pregnant teenager and don’t eat enough iron rich foods; you are at increased risk.
Most pregnant women enter pregnancy with sufficient iron stores, but may develop iron deficiency in the later stages of pregnancy. This means your blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your organs.
During pregnancy, your body has to produce more blood to support your baby’s growth. However, if you are not getting enough iron or other nutrients, your body might have trouble producing the amount of red blood cells needed to provide blood for you and baby.
Although it’s normal to have mild anaemia during pregnancy, bear in mind that your condition can become severe because of extremely low iron levels. It is therefore important to eat well-balanced meals and aim for at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods per day.
Some foods you can try:
• lean red meat, poultry, and fish
• dark green, leafy vegetables (such as Calaloo, spinach, broccoli, and kale)
• iron-enriched cereals and grains
• beans, lentils
• nuts and seeds
The GFNC is also stressing the importance of exclusive breastfeeding at least from birth to 6 months. This will aid in building baby’s iron stores as Anemia can leave you feeling tired and weak. If it is severe but goes untreated, it can increase your risk of complications like preterm delivery. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking a prenatal supplement that contains a sufficient amount of iron and folic acid.
(The above reflects the views of the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council)