Did you have a big blood loss at delivery?
If so, you’re probably now dealing with postpartum anemia.
This caused by low iron levels that’s making you feel exhausted, irritable and downright rubbish.
As if we don’t already have the short end of the stick with sleepless nights, constant feeds, poor diet and a household to run.
If your iron levels are low it can affect your life beyond your health. Let’s look at ways you can deal with postpartum anemia. These are great tips if you’ve just given birth or you’ve had a big blood loss in a previous pregnancy.
1. TAKE SUPPLEMENTS
Depending on how low your iron levels are you should start to take iron supplements. You can opt for capsules, liquid or chewable forms. You’ll need to take around 2-3 tablets a day to get your levels back to normal.
Finding a good iron supplement for you can be a bit hit or miss. Certain types of iron can give you a really upset tummy or make you feel sick. Look out for brands which are labeled as non-constipating or slow release.
2. EAT IRON RICH FOOD
Even if you are already taking supplements, you have to remember they are a diet aid. That means you should still change your diet to include iron-rich foods. The best sources of iron come from animal protein such as meat, poultry or fish.
You can also get iron from vegetables, fortified cereals and whole grains. Plant-based iron doesn’t absorb as well into the body but can still boost your daily intake.
3. CUT DOWN ON THE TEA
Or coffee for that matter. Both contain an ingredient known as tannin, which can slow the absorption of iron.
If you also drink a lot of milk, then the calcium can slow your absorption of iron from your food.
We recommend cutting down your daily intake or preferably stopping until your iron levels increase. If you can’t go without, try only drinking your tea or coffee in between taking your iron supplements.
4. WATCH YOUR MOOD
You’ve probably heard of postnatal depression. Studies have shown that there is a definite link between being anemic and developing postpartum depression.
Anemia causes fatigue and low milk supply when breastfeeding. These can both leave you feeling overwhelmed. Especially if your baby is not settling and you are feeling exhausted.
5. GO NATURAL
If you are not keen on taking supplements for anemia then try a natural cure. Blackstrap molasses has been used for centuries to improve anemia symptoms. It’s really rich in iron and can help to boost your iron levels quickly. It’s suitable for a diabetic as it has a low glycemic index, unlike refined sugar. Its sweet taste means you can use it in your diet as a sweetener.
Another alternative is to use a Lucky Iron Fish when you are cooking. It’s a cast iron fish you add to your cooking pot or mug of hot drink. It releases iron into your food and drinks so you get an easy dose. Plus it’s reusable so you can buy the device for around the same amount as a bottle of iron supplements.
These are great options if you simply can’t tolerate any iron supplements. Also if you are vegetarian or vegan and want to avoid using any animal-based products or fillers.
6. VITAMIN C
Fill up on Vitamin C rich food to boost your iron absorption. This includes fruits such as oranges and strawberries. Some people like to take their iron supplement with orange juice to boost the amount absorbed.
If you start to feel unwell, have a fever, shivering or see signs of infection then contact your doctor or midwife.
These are usually quickly cleared up with antibiotics, however, can make you seriously unwell if left untreated.