Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get Your Glow On!

What causes that “pregnancy glow” so many women have while pregnant? Poetically speaking, the glow is from the knowledge and anticipation of the life growing inside, as well as healthier eating and living. However, technically it can be linked to an increase in blood volume. Women typically see a gain of 40-50% in blood levels during pregnancy.

This increased blood volume boosts blood flow to the uterus and kidneys and compensates for the blood lost during delivery. Anemia (which is too few red blood cells) can develop during pregnancy from dilution of red blood cells  as a result of the increased volume. The fetus uses the mother’s red blood cells to aid in development, especially during the third trimester.  We moms are, of course, happy to share, but it's important that we take care of ourselves as well. 

How do you know if you have anemia? Some of the signs are: fatigue, dizziness, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, or difficulty breathing. Visit your OBGYN for blood testing to know for sure.

The best prevention for anemia is taking an iron supplement or a prenatal vitamin containing the correct Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) of iron (9mg ).  Sounds easy enough.  Another way to prevent anemia is to start storing iron before you become pregnant. Since iron is stored in bone marrow, a prenatal vitamin used during preconception is helpful.  Any iron stored up before pregnancy can be used during pregnancy to aid in fetal development.

Unfortunately, many women have a hard time tolerating iron during pregnancy, so it is important to try different products until you find one that works for you.  If you have a hard time tolerating the iron in your prenatal vitamin, try another brand that might be better tolerated. Look for a prenatal vitamin containing micro-encapsulated iron, which tends to be gentler on the stomach. The iron is released over time, which alleviates the number one cause of iron-related nausea, iron hitting the stomach all at once.

So get your glow on girls!  Your body and your baby will thank you.

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