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Minor Ailments of Pregnancy

Anemia

Anemia is common in pregnancy because of the increase in the volume of blood in the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, an iron and protein compound which carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body, and in pregnancy to the placenta and the baby. The blood volume in pregnancy swells faster than our red blood cells are able to multiply, and the normal count of 10-15 grams per 100cc of blodd drops by 1-1-5 grams.

Herb Rosehip

Below the level of 11 grams, you have anemia. When the red blood cells are diluted, there is a relative drop in hemoglobin, which is why prevention of anemia during pregnancy is a very important part of prenatal care. Those with anemia generally feel they are "making heavy weather" of a pregnancy, and there are often no actual symptoms.

However, anemia can give rise to:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Constant Tiredness
  • Bad Temper
  • Breathlessness or palpitations on exertion
  • Lethargy
  • Indigestion

If this occurs during pregnancy, it is known as iron-deficiency anemia, it is more likely to occur in the last two months of pregnancy, when a high proportion of a mother's iron is stored in the baby's liver, to supplement the low iron milk diet.

Plenty of Iron

Make sure there are plenty of iron containing foods in the daily diet. The richest sources are:

  • Wholewheat bread, wheatgerm, brown rice
  • Other dark leafy greens
  • Organic meats
  • Peas, beans and lentils
  • Beet and turnip tops
  • Egg yolk
  • Molasses
  • Meat
  • Watercress
  • Shellfish
  • Parsley
  • Fish
  • Nuts

Herbs Containing Iron

There are several herbs which contain iron. Use any of these in your cooking, in salads, or as teas:

  • Parsley (as a garnish - not in large amounts
  • Hawthorn leaves and flowers
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Coriander leaves
  • Yellow dock root
  • Chickweed
  • Purslane
  • Wood sage
  • Chives
  • Elderberries
  • Sorrel
  • Burdock
  • Rose hips
  • Skullcap
  • Nettles
  • Vervain
  • Hops

Help Iron Become Absorbed

  • Eat plenty of foods containing Vitamin C
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, especially tea
  • If you suffer from anxiety or tension this may impair digestion and absorption. Take Vitamin B complex or brewer's yeast to help the nervous system and to prevent anemia caused by deficiency of Vitamin B, B12 and folic acid
  • For proper digestion and absorption there needs to be sufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Sip a little cider vinegar in water half and hour before meals to increase acidity
  • Eat plenty of Vitamin E-containing foods to ensure iron absorption, and to prevent the destruction of red blood cells