Iron Deficiency In Pregnancy: 10 Natural Ways to Replenish Your Iron Levels to Protect Yourself and Your Baby from its Harmful Effects

By Nikita Mayuresh | Posted: September 15, 2018

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful and challenging phases in a woman's life. You need to be physically as well as mentally equipped to deal with the roller-coaster ride of hormones, bodily changes, and new dimensions to your relationships. In the past, women did most of their work without machines, and eating junk food was rare. But as life becomes more and more accessible and physically easy, we need to adopt a more disciplined approach to health.  Regular exercise, healthy eating, a proper sleeping pattern, and stress management can make your pregnancy journey both easier and happier. A lot of women experience low stamina and fatigue during this period--this is the most basic warning sign of low iron levels in the body. Here are 10 natural ways to boost your iron so you can focus on getting the rest of your life ready for your new bundle of joy!

The role of iron for pregnant and nursing mothers

Iron is an essential mineral both during and after pregnancy. A pregnant woman requires 27 milligrams of iron a day, and a nursing mother requires 9 milligrams. That means a pregnant woman needs to consume almost double the iron that she usually requires. It is very important to take this additional amount of iron during this period, so that the body can make more blood and supply essential oxygen to all of your cells.

If a mother neglects to take an adequate amount of iron during this period, then it may lead to anemia. This is the reason that doctors recommend eating iron-rich foods during this period. Iron is required for good stamina, as it is one of the components of haemoglobin.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is a very common issue that is seen in many woman after pregnancy. It is very important to have an adequate amount of iron during this period. Sometimes the symptoms of iron deficiency go unnoticed, risking the health of both mother and baby. This is why it’s so important to understand the symptoms of iron deficiency, so you can detect it in yourself and make the necessary changes before permanent damage is done. The following are symptoms of iron deficiency:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale and yellowish skin
  • Tongue swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Brittle nails
  • Cold hands and feet

If you observe any such symptoms during or after pregnancy, you may have a deficiency of iron. If you notice any of the above symptoms, consult your physician and begin to incorporate proper iron-rich foods and medicines into your diet.

It is said that if you eat your food intelligently, there is no need to take any supplements. Here are some simple, natural, and delicious foods that will replenish your iron levels:

1. Raisins:

Raisins are rich in nutrients. You can eat a handful of raisins with your breakfast to replenish your energy. Or you can also soak raisins with saffron overnight and eat it as part of the first meal of the day. As in just 5 grams of saffron, there are 0.55 milligram of iron. Both mixed together will greatly help in fighting against the deficiency of iron in your body.

2. Iron-rich vegetables

It is essential to eat vegetables that are loaded with iron during pregnancy. Lack of iron will lead to low level of energy, which will cause shortness of breath, dizziness, anemia, headache, and many other problems. Consume iron rich foods during this period, such as broccoli, beans, chickpeas, lemongrass, mushrooms, and spinach.

3. Vitamin C-rich foods

Along with iron, vitamin C is also essential for both mother and baby during this period.  Vitamin C-rich foods help in the assimilation of Iron in the body. It is recommended to consume citrus, such as orange, grapes, kiwis, and cranberries during the period of pregnancy.

4. Protein-rich foods

Protein is called the builder nutrient, as it helps to build important organs in your baby. Haemoglobin is made up of protein and iron. As such, it is recommended to consume protein-rich foods such as milk, nuts, cheese, and cottage cheese or paneer.

5. Vitamin A-rich foods

Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A, is essential to the assimilation of iron. Eat vitamin-A rich foods, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, spinach, and apricots to ensure that the extra iron you’re ingesting is fully integrated into your body’s system.

6. Reduce excessive intake of tea and coffee

Post-pregnancy, you might be excited to resume your tea or coffee habit. But excessive consumption of tea or coffee interferes with iron absorption in the body. Depending on the type of tea or coffee you drink, it could contain caffeine and sugar, which are unhealthy. So, it is recommended to reduce the amount of tea and coffee to one small cup a day.

7. Eliminate alcohol

Alcohol is extremely dehydrating. Expecting and nursing mothers should stay away from it completely. Not only do you run the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, addiction, and poor child development, alcohol also interferes with overall nutrient absorption in the body.

8. Regular exercise

Pregnant and nursing mothers should take time for exercise. Without the stimuli of exercise, our body is unable to assimilate the nutrients we consume. Often, exercising is confused with activity. You can be active all day, but it is important to dedicate an hour for exercise. Whether you head to the gym, the pool, or a yoga class, set aside this time for yourself. Yoga is best to increase flexibility and calm the mind. If you’re new to it, try these beginner level yoga asanas.

Read here: Pregnancy Yoga Poses

9. An uninterrupted night’s sleep

An uninterrupted night’s sleep is difficult for new moms, but not impossible. Take care to feed your baby before sleeping, and ask for and accept the help of your other family members. Your body really needs rest for the repair work that it undergoes after the birthing process. Make sure you sleep at least 6 hours uninterrupted in every 24 hour period.

10. Milk:

Our bodies lose almost 4 years of calcium reserves during and after a pregnancy. A glass of calcium-rich milk is a must for all expecting and new mothers. To increase your strength during pregnancy, you can also consume milk with turmeric as it is one of the 6 miracle Ayurvedic Herbs that boost gut health and improves immunity. There are many health benefits of turmeric. Turmeric milk is an Indian recipe which keeps us free from infections, is easily digestible and yummy.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition

By Nikita Mayuresh - A software engineer turned blogger, passionate about healthy lifestyle, yoga, good food and loves to share her experiences and knowledge with everyone through her blog Health N Wellness Mantra.