Anaemia during pregnancy

Anaemia stands for a lower number of red blood cells mostly caused by an insufficient amount of iron in the body. Iron is an important element in creating haemoglobin which, in red blood cells, transfers oxygen.

It has been known that people with Celiac disease have great predispositions for anaemia. Moreover, anaemia is often the main indicator that one has Celiac disease. It gets complicated when a person who has Celiac disease and has a problem with anaemia gets pregnant. 

During my first pregnancy, my blood results were flawless. Iron was high although I had been drinking iron supplements as prevention. The supplement I had been taking before giving birth was Sideral Folico and after I continued with Sideral Forte. Nothing of this is the case with my second pregnancy. From the very beginning, I had lower levels of iron even if I have been drinking Sideral Forte all of the time. Coming closer to the delivery date, the levels are falling progressively. 

The second pregnancy is much tougher than the first one especially if you have a two-year-old around you all the time. He or she constantly needs care and attention while you are becoming more and more tired and sluggish due to the constant lack of rest and sleep. Only when gynaecologist asked me whether I have been consuming enough iron through my food, I opened my eyes. I’m carefully preparing my son’s intakes every single time but I can’t say I do the same for me. Often, I find myself eating fast just to quench the hunger which is not good at all especially if you’re pregnant.

 

A pregnant woman should get as twice as much iron to produce more blood for supplying the baby with oxygen.

 

Severe anaemia during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, lighter baby and postpartum depression. 

Anemia symptoms are:

  • fainting, fatigue
  • breath shortness
  • pale or yellow skin
  • rapid heartbeat
  • headache 

 

Top iron-rich food is red meat

Recommended daily iron intake is 18mg for women and 8mg for men. During pregnancy, this amount increases to almost double, to 27mg. If you are taking iron supplements you should be doing this while eating to decrease nausea possibilities. Additionally, it is very important to increase daily nutrition. The human body gets from 30 to 35% of the necessary elements from meat where red meat is the richest with iron. Top-iron rich meat per 100g:

duck meat (2,7mg)
beef (2,6mg)
lamb (1,9mg)

The finest and best red meat is for sure beef tenderloin. If you have a chance to buy it, here are a few examples of how to prepare it – Gluten-Free Beefsteak.

Besides meat, fish and seafood could be attractive culinary ideas but you should be careful when putting them on the menu. First, it’s hard to always find fresh fish in central parts of the continent. Second, some fish and seafood are not recommended or are recommended in limited quantities during pregnancy. Tuna, for example, is not recommended because it contains high levels of mercury which goes through the placenta and can provide additional risk for baby nervous system development. Furthermore, seafood such as seashells can be infected with coliform bacteria and salmonella. 
Last but not least, salmon is highly recommended but in limited quantities. If you follow the recommendation to eat salmon not more than once per week it can provide iron (0,6mg per 100g), omega 3 fatty acids (2,3mg per 100g), proteins, vitamin B, potassium and selenium.
Being you prefer salmon from the oven or a pan it will be equally delicious. In both cases, you don’t need to bake it long. A bit of olive oil, sea salt and it’s done in 15 minutes. You can combine it with different salads, rice or try my recipe for a very tasty Salmon sandwich

We can get iron also from fruit, vegetables, grains but our body is not able to digest more than 17% of iron from them. To upsurge absorption of iron from plant sources and supplements combine them with food rich with Vitamin C and folic acid. Calcium, on the other hand, can decrease absorption of iron even though it’s an important nutrient during pregnancy. Consequently, it’s important to intake milk products and other calcium-rich food 2 hours before or 2 hours after iron-rich intake. 

 

Grains are a perfect source of iron

 

 

Among top on the list are oats (4,7mg per 100g) yet some people with Celiac disease can be sensitive on this grain hence opinions about its presence in the gluten-free diet are divided. If your body hasn’t reacted on oats I recommend you to try Oat cookies with pieces of dark chocolate (11,9mg of iron per 100g) and coconut oil which is also a great source of iron. This cookie doesn’t contain any elements of calcium which could prevent absorption of iron from oats and dark chocolate. 

In many cases, seeds, nuts and dry fruit have more nonritual values than the rest of the food. Pumpkin seeds and sesame, as well as linseed, are the richest with iron. Pumpkin seeds have 3,3mg of iron per 100g, sesame has 14,6mg per 100g. Nuts have 2,9mg per 100g, peanuts have 4,6mg of iron per 100g. Dry fruits have 1,9mg per 100g among which dry apricot has the most – 2,7mg of iron per 100g. You can mix all of the above in delicious muesli together with soya or coconut milk not to decrease iron absorption. 

 

Fruits and vegetables can also positively affect the levels of iron in your blood

 

 

Different berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, salad as well as beet, peach, beans, chickpea are also an excellent source of iron. All these fruits and vegetables are recommended to combine with Vitamin C. The most delicious way to do this is to make smoothies and juices out of them. Here’s one of the suggestions: squeezed orange, lemon, beet, raspberries and blueberries.

Anaemia can badly impact on the whole body but if you are also pregnant, problems can affect your baby as well. After delivery, when your body loses a lot of blood, it’s extremely important to increase iron intake especially if you plan to breast-feed your baby. Breastfed babies get everything necessary for their development through breast milk so pay attention closely what you intake – it’s for the best for you and your baby.
You shouldn’t take anaemia for granted but you should find a way to beat it. 

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