Anemia due to iron deficiency is common in pregnant women, and even if it calls for concern a pregnant woman should not feel that she's the first person to ever experience it. It is referred to as iron deficiency anemia, the body's demand for iron coupled with the increase in blood volume in pregnant women makes iron deficiency anemia happen easily, but it can be prevented and the health of both mother and unborn baby kept intact by incorporating some foods into our diet.
From the name iron deficiency anemia, it is clear that it has to do with lack of iron, which is an essential nutrient to a pregnant woman. Generally speaking, all human beings need iron, but for a pregnant woman, her need for iron is for herself and her unborn baby.
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When iron is deficient in a person's body, it leads to symptoms such as unusual tiredness, headaches, skin paleness, heart palpitations, restless legs, and so on. Now imagine what happens if that person is a pregnant woman, I imagine increased tiredness and a magnification of these symptoms as she needs to take in more iron (for herself and her baby).
Iron is important as it is instrumental in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the protein responsible for the transportation of oxygen in red blood cells, with low iron or iron deficiency there will be insufficient hemoglobin, leading to an end product of inadequate oxygen in the muscles, and other tissues.
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Without adequate oxygen, our tissues won't perform optimally and anemia becomes imminent. This effect is amplified in pregnant women as they produce more red blood cells (blood), therefore need more iron to produce more hemoglobin for oxygen attachment and carriage.
A pregnant woman needs to get more iron as she provides iron for two humans (babies don't produce iron, but they need it). The second and third trimesters of pregnancy are the ones that more attention should be focused on as it concerns iron deficiency, and to get more iron you can simply add these four foods to your diet regularly.
1. Red meat.
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Red meats are good food options to add iron to your diet as they contain good amounts of iron and are widely eaten in Nigeria.
2. Dark, leafy greens.
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Dark, leafy green are vegetables, for example, spinach, kale, and collard greens, these vegetables are rich in iron asides from other essential vitamins and minerals that they contain. Adding vegetables to your diet is easy because they can be used as condiments to cook whatever food you're eating, or they can be consumed alone.
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Beans (especially white beans) is a reliable and rich source of iron which the body needs for the proper transport of oxygen to tissues and organs.
4. Eggs (egg yolk especially).
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Eggs and a host of other foods are rich in heme iron, and being rich in iron makes it an important food to pregnant women (and their babies) as they are favorites to get struck by iron deficiency anemia.
Source: Healthline, Verywell Family, Medical News Today.
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