Our bodies go through so many change during pregnancy - understandably, as we are growing another life within! Because of this, we often need to be more aware of what we eat and what we need to add to our diet to help work with our bodies and support these changes. One example of this is iron. Iron is a mineral that is very important with creating blood cells that move oxygen throughout our body. Our blood supply increases drastically when we are pregnant. The lack of iron can cause iron-deficiency anemia, meaning our body does not create as many blood cells as we need because they do not have the building blocks to make them. This can make people feel tired or sluggish, look pale, feel weak, have heart palpitations, and even cause shortness of breath. It can be hard to diagnose because many people feel those symptoms just from being pregnant.
When you are pregnant, you need to increase your iron intake from 18mg a day to 27mg a day. Many people are able to do this by increasing iron rich foods in their diet. This can include red meat, beef/chicken liver, cooked shellfish, lentils, cooked spinach, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, potatoes with the skin, and fortified cereals. You can also cook using a cast-iron pan to boost even more iron.
Adding iron is only half the battle - it is also important to make sure you are able to actually absorb iron so your body can use it. Having iron with vitamin C helps with this absorption. Foods high in vitamin C include: citrus oranges/orange juice, grapefruit, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peppers, kale/spinach etc. You also want to avoid foods high in calcium: milk, cheese, yogurt, even your prenatal vitamin. Learn when to check for this deficiency on our next post! Stay tuned.