When your hemoglobin/hematocrit is <11mg/dL/33%, the World Health Organization defines you to be anemic.
Essential Facts About Anemia
- Anemia is most often secondary to inadequate iron intake.
- The typical U.S. diet contains about 18mg of iron a day of which only 1mg is absorbed.
- Each pregnancy depletes maternal iron stores by 750mg.
Implications of Anemia for You and Your Pregnancy
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations (pounding)
- Increased risk of blood transfusion during delivery
Foods and Drugs That Don’t Mix Well with Iron
- Foods high in phytic acids (grains, seeds, legumes) decrease iron absorption.
- Dairy products decrease bioavailability of iron. Iron supplements should not be taken within one hour of consuming dairy products.
- Thyroid supplements should be taken four hours apart from iron supplements to maximize the effectiveness of thyroid supplementation.
- Proton pump inhibitors (Prevacid, Prilosec OTC, etc.) reduce the bioavailability of iron.
- Calcium, aluminum, and magnesium decrease iron absorption. Therefore, iron should be taken at least one hour before or two hours after products containing these chemicals.
- Remember to take your prenatal vitamin daily.
- Vitamin C and folic acid help increase iron stores.