One of the most common side-effects of pregnancy is Anaemia, generally this is because many women begin their pregnancy already low in iron, during your first antenatal appointment you should have a blood test to check this, however, even if it appears that your levels are fine at this stage, during the second and third trimester is when you are likely to become more anaemic.
Did you know that by the end of your pregnancy you will have nearly 50% more blood than before!? Your body naturally needs more haemoglobin to carry oxygen to the red blood cells, to make haemoglobin you need iron. You also need extra iron for your growing baby. With that in mind, it’s no surprise really that women find themselves anaemic.
You can also develop anemia from not getting enough folic acid or vitamin B12, by losing a lot of blood, or from certain diseases or inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.
I had anaemia during my second pregnancy, i wasn’t told till four weeks AFTER my blood tests had been sent off, and you can imagine it was too late by then, I had all the symptoms below, I was even checked out with an ECG for 24 hours, if you have any of these you probably are anaemic and should go to your GP
Symptoms of anaemia:
The main symptoms are overwhelming tiredness and a lack of energy. (Obviously this is far worse than the general tiredness we all experience during pregnancy.. this for me meant I was so, so tired i could have slept literally anywhere, even standing up probably!)
If the anaemia is severe, you might notice palpitations (when your heart skips a beat or two), breathlessness and dizziness. (These can also be a sign of low blood pressure)
You should contact your midwife or GP if you have any of the symptoms of anaemia a simple blood test will clarify.
Obvious advice would be, eat some more iron rich foods. However, this alone might not be enough to raise your iron levels, your GP can prescribe you iron supplements, though be aware these do tend you make you constipated.
I found a supplement called SpaTone in Boots which is a simple sachet of ‘water’ which you mix with orange juice which worked wonders for me. Be warned, its not cheap though.