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Iron and Anemia
What is anemia?
Anemia means there is not enough iron in your blood. This is important because iron helps oxygen move around your body. Without enough oxygen, you may experience some of the symptoms below:
Why does WIC want to know if I am anemic?
Iron is an important nutrient during pregnancy. It helps oxygen circulate through your blood to you and your baby. Low iron during pregnancy can lead to preterm birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women are more susceptible to anemia, so at WIC, we review your iron level to ensure that you are not at risk for health concerns.
While your iron requirements are lower in the postpartum period than during pregnancy, it is very important to use the 6 weeks after you have your baby to increase your iron levels. Low postpartum iron levels can put you at increase risk for "fatigue, altered cognition, and depressive symptoms". WIC wants to help you achieve healthy iron stores so you can feel well and enjoy your time with your family.
Symptoms of anemia
cold fingers and toes
What does my iron level mean?
Select your iron level and see what the number means
You have plenty of iron in your blood! Keep up with eating your iron rich foods. Remember to pair them with vitamin C to help your body absorb that iron more easily.
11.1 or more
Iron level: 11.1 or more
Your iron level is low and you are anemic. You can improve your iron level by eating iron rich foods like meats, eggs, beans, dark green vegetables, and iron fortified grains. You can eat vitamin C with these foods to help you absorb iron.
Calcium will keep you from absorbing iron. Avoid consuming too much dairy (over 16 ounces for children, and over 24 ounces for adults)
10.5 - 11
Iron level: 10.5 - 11
Your iron is very low. You can help it increase by eating plenty of iron rich foods along with vitamin C, and consuming enough but not too much calcium. You can talk with your doctor about an iron supplement, too.
Iron level: under 10.5
Pregnant women need to take in twice the amount of iron as non-pregnant women. This is so the blood can carry enough oxygen to both mom and the growing baby. Becoming anemic during pregnancy can put mom at risk of delivering early and having a low birth weight baby.
The CDC and WHO define anemia during pregnancy as a hemoglobin level under 11 during the first and third trimesters, and under 10.5 during the second trimester.
Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia During Pregnancy
Help! I'm anemic! What can I do?
To improve your iron levels, you can:
eat more iron rich foods (see below for a list)
combine foods with iron and vitamin C
avoid eating dairy along with your iron rich foods
ask your doctor if you need an iron supplement