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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more


Iron is a necessary nutrient for a healthy body, especially when you are pregnant; yet 20 percent of pregnant women don't get enough iron, which can lead to a low red blood cell count, or anemia. Before you became pregnant, you needed 15 milligrams of iron a day; but now your daily requirement has doubled to 30.

During your pregnancy, you have twice as much blood flowing through your body to support your growing baby, and you need extra iron to make more hemoglobin for all that new blood. Hemoglobin is the protein in your blood that carries precious oxygen to your body's tissues and growing baby.

If you become anemic during pregnancy, you may become excessively fatigued; have a tendency to get stressed and sick; or develop a pale complexion, shortness of breath, fast or irregular heartbeats, weakness, dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting spells. If your anemia is very severe, your baby's growth may slow and you may be at risk for premature delivery. And if you are anemic when you deliver, it may be difficult for you to recover from the loss of blood, an infection, or other possible complications of delivery.

You may also become anemic if you have a folic acid or vitamin B deficiency, lose a lot of blood from an injury or surgical procedure, or if you have a chronic illness such as kidney disease.

Your caregiver probably tested you for anemia at your first prenatal appointment and will continue to test you at every appointment thereafter. He or she will probably recommend you take a prenatal vitamin that contains iron as a preventative measure against anemia, and if you develop anemia sometime during your pregnancy, it will probably be treated with an iron supplement. Taking an iron supplement may make your morning sickness worse and can cause constipation, so try to drink more fluids and take the supplement at night before going to bed to minimize your discomfort. Do not take an iron supplement with milk as it can prevent the absorption of iron.

To prevent anemia, eat foods that are high in iron, such as red meat, dried beans, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, and fortified breads, pastas, and cereals. In addition, be sure to get plenty of vitamin C (which aids iron absorption), vitamin B, and folic acid.


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