About AOA

The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
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The Importance of an Iron-Rich Diet

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough of the protein hemoglobin in the red blood cells in your body. The main job of hemoglobin is to carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. Without oxygen, your organs, muscles and tissues cannot work as well as they should. Women and people with chronic diseases are at the greatest risk for anemia.

Women can get anemic from a variety of causes, including:

  • Excessive blood loss from heavy or long periods
  • Childbirth
  • Uterine fibroids

Foods that are a good source of iron include animal proteins such as beef, chicken or fish, as well as dairy products, eggs, and leafy green vegetables. During pregnancy your AOA doctor will prescribe supplements to ensure that both you and your unborn baby are getting enough iron.

In addition to iron deficiency anemia, other types of anemia, include vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (also known as pernicious anemia), and folate deficiency anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs most often in people who are unable to absorb B12 due to an autoimmune disorder, or who have certain kinds of intestinal problems. With this type of anemia, it may not immediately be apparent that your body doesn’t have enough B12. Additional telltale symptoms can include numbness in your legs and feet, memory loss, problems walking and problems seeing. You may need to get vitamin B12 shots or take a B12 supplement.

Folate deficiency anemia can occur if you are not consuming enough folate, also known as folic acid. This can often happen in the third trimester of pregnancy, when your body needs extra folate. If you are pregnant, your AOA physician will prescribe a supplement. Foods that are rich in folic acid include dark, leafy green vegetables; dried legumes; dried fruits; and fortified grains in cereals, pastas and breads.

Sometimes a person may actually be getting enough iron in their diet, but because of chronic disease, such as Crohn’s disease, or Celiac disease, their body cannot absorb the amount of iron they need.

Learn more about getting the right levels of iron and folate to keep your blood healthy and oxygen flowing to all parts of your body: