Iron deficiency anemia is a type of anemia caused by an insufficient amount of iron in the body. During pregnancy, your body’s iron needs increase greatly, especially starting in the second trimester. In India, over 50% of all pregnant women have anemia, the majority of which is due to lack of iron. (WHO/NHD/01.3).
Some of the main tips to manage iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy are:
1. Incorporate iron rich foods in your diet: Sources of iron can be classified into Heme & Non-heme sources.
Heme sources include :
Some sources of Vitamin C include :
4. Never have your iron supplements with any calcium products. (Also read: Calcium inhibits the absorption of iron). Combine your iron supplements, including MamaBix with citrus juices like orange juice, amla juice, etc. instead of milk, tea & coffee.
5. Monitor your Hb levels routinely. Patients with a good level of Hb also have a risk of developing anemia eventually along pregnancy due to a process called hemodilution during pregnancy. In such cases, a maintenance dose of 1-2 MamaBix special iron biscuits can be consumed to prevent anemia. Remember to maintain your iron levels at all times since it’s very essential during pregnancy.
(Also read : Why is iron so important during pregnancy?)
The demand of calories increases to more than 350 calories during pregnancy and up to 600 calories during lactation.
Oils and fats are typically frowned upon in life. However, fats are very important during pregnancy and lactation as they provide energy and help in the fetal growth.
Fats help in the formation of cells for the growing baby contributing in developing the placenta, immune system, heart, brain, eyes and more. Fats also aid in blood clotting, and help your body use vitamins A, D, E, and K. Some fats, called omega-3 fatty acids, play an important role in brain development. Source : ACOG
Fats should make up about 20–35% of your total food intake—that’s about 6 tablespoons per day.
It’s very important to keep in mind that during pregnancy, the quality of fats is more important than their total amount, especially for fetal development and infant growth. (Marangoni, Cetin, et al.)
Fats can be classified into : Unsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats.
Unsaturated fats should be maximized. These include olive oil, palm oil, almonds, avocados etc.
Saturated fats that need to be controlled include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.
Trans fats are chemically processed saturated fats which need to be avoided as they have no nutritional value. These include chemically processed and packaged crackers, cookies, potato chips etc.
MamaBix contains zero trans fats.
Therefore, balance your diet with appropriate proportion of fats for healthy growth of mother and child. Be careful on what you consume. After all, you are what you eat!
In 2011, we began to research why pregnant women did not take their iron tablets, despite having access to them. Our literature review and qualitative/quantitative interviews with hundreds of pregnant women across India told us:
According to the most recent Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS-IV), only 39% pregnant women who had access to iron tablets took them for the recommended 100 days or more.
The issue of non-compliance to iron tablets isn’t restricted only to pregnant women in rural areas. Just 49% women in urban areas stick to their iron tablets routine during their pregnancy. Also, the more pregnancies a woman has had, the less likely she is to take iron tablets.
To address this issue of non-compliance and fulfil critical iron needs during pregnancy, Violet Health researched, formulated, and clinically tested MamaBix. MamaBix contains crucial nutrients including iron, folic acid, vitamin C, and protein. Learn more about these special iron-folic acid biscuits here!
Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron
5 top protein rich foods in pregnancy
Seafood is a great source of protein, iron and zinc — crucial nutrients for the baby's growth and development.The omega-3 fatty acids in many fish, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), promote your baby's brain development. Fish are also rich sources of other nutrients required for fetal neurodevelopment including iodine, selenium, choline, vitamin D and long-chain n-3 fatty acids.
However, one concern is mercury levels in large predatory fish (in high doses) could be harmful for the brain development of your baby. (Taylor, Emmett & Emund)
Some seafood that’s safe to consume during this time include:
Seafood to avoid include:
Due to limited clinical studies conducted in India regarding local seafood and their effects on pregnancy, it is always suggested to consult your physician/ nutritionist about the type and serving size of each type of fish that you consume.
Iron and calcium needs increase considerably during pregnancy. To fulfil the increased demand of the mother and baby, doctors recommend iron and calcium supplements in this time.
However, calcium supplements should not be consumed at the same time as iron supplements. Why? Calcium and iron compete for the same receptors, and as a result, calcium inhibits the absorption of iron when taken together.
Studies on human subjects have shown that calcium (Ca) can inhibit iron (Fe) absorption, regardless of whether it is given as calcium tablets or in dairy products (Lönnerdal B)
Indeed, studies have shown calcium tablets reduce both heme and non- heme iron absorption. (Sean R Lynch)
Some of the rich sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, canned salmon, tofu, broccoli, almonds, figs, turnip greens and rhubarb.
Therefore, iron supplements (like MamaBix) should not be consumed with milk, coffee, tea, other dairy products (or along with calcium tablets) for better iron absorption. Calcium supplements should be consumed near bedtime when necessary.
Iron is particularly important during pregnancy and infancy to meet the high demands for hematopoiesis (formation of blood), growth and development. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, which functions in the delivery of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body, and for the synthesis of iron enzymes, which are required to utilize oxygen for the production of energy.(Institute of Medicine (US) Committee)
Iron during pregnancy helps in :
It is very difficult to satisfy the growing need of iron in your body during pregnancy through normal routine diet. As a result, iron supplements (such as iron tablets and MamaBix) are recommended in World Health Organisation and Indian Government guidelines, in addition to being prescribed by the doctors in the second and third trimesters.
Unlike iron tablets, MamaBix was formulated in association with nutritionists, doctors and pregnant women to introduce iron supplementation in a food form to address the issue of compliance with minimum side effects.
Make sure you incorporate a lot of iron-rich foods in your diet and take your iron supplements regularly!
Remember, Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.
When you’re expecting, you need extra iron to nourish your growing baby. If you don't get enough iron from your diet or supplements, you can become deficient.
The main symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include :
Clinically, the classic laboratory findings of iron deficiency anemia include a decrease in the hemoglobin (Hb) level, serum iron concentration, serum transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin level, and an increase in total iron-binding capacity.
To get technical, a serum ferritin concentration <30 μg/L together with an Hb concentration <11 g/dL during the 1st trimester, <10.5 g/dL during the 2nd trimester, and <11 g/dL during the 3rd trimester are diagnostic for anemia during pregnancy. (Api, Breyman, Cetiner)
Anemia affects more than 1.5 billion people worldwide according to WHO. Also, Anemia in India is an epidemic.
Iron deficiency Anemia can have severe effects on maternal and fetal health including post-birth effects on the infant as well. Therefore, ensure you include iron rich foods in your diet and iron supplements (Check MamaBix) to make your pregnancy healthier and happier!
Protein during pregnancy provides the nutrients your body needs to grow and repair muscles and other tissues. A balanced diet with sufficient protein during pregnancy improves fetal growth and increases infant’s birth weight. (Liberato, Singh, & Mulholland, 2013).
The top 5 sources of protein in pregnancy are:
•Dairy (e.g., milk, cheese, curd).
•Pulses and legumes (e.g., sprouted grams, beans, peas).
•Eggs, lean meats.
•Fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, sardines).
As a result of your baby’s rapid growth, protein is especially important during a pregnant woman’s second and third trimester.
Hence, make sure you incorporate a lot of protein in your daily diet for a healthier pregnancy!
Three MamaBix biscuits contain nearly 3 grams of protein.
Related article : 10 super iron rich foods during pregnancy and lactation
Having a baby is a blessing which comes with happiness and responsibility. Pregnant women and their baby’s health depends on the foods she eats and their nutrients. As you may have seen elsewhere on this website, essential during pregnancy is iron - truly a shakti nutrient!
What’s lesser known is that Vitamin C is also essential in keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. It is recommended throughout pregnancy to prevent iron-deficiency anemia as well as many other maternal, fetal and neonatal diseases.(Shu, Ogbodo, Shu, & Ogbodo, 2005)
In particular, Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from your diet. According to Lynch & Cook, 1980 , Iron rich foods can either be heme or non-heme based.
Heme based iron foods are derived from meat (non-vegetarian), whereas non-heme based iron foods are derived from plants (vegetarian). (Read 10 Super Iron-Rich Foods for Pregnancy & Lactation). The absorption of iron from heme based foods is easier than non-heme based foods. Vitamin C is a powerful aid in absorption of iron from non-heme sources.
Calcium, on the other hand, inhibits the absorption of iron by forming phytates. Also, the amount of iron absorption is directly proportional to the amount of Vitamin C in your diet.
So pregnant women, remember: take Vitamin C (such as fruit juices (lime, orange, amla), vegetable juices (tomato, carrot), whole fruits (e.g., orange, kiwi, mango, strawberries), whole vegetables (e.g., capsicum, tomato)) when you take your iron supplement.
Mamabix, unlike other iron supplements, contains Vitamin C for just this reason!
At the same time, avoid taking calcium and caffeine at these moments, as they inhibit the absorption of iron.