National Nutrition Week: Preventing Anaemia in Pregnant Women

National nutrition week is an annual event that is introduced by Food and Nutrition Board, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. It is celebrated every year from 1st September to 7th September. The week is mainly focused upon the nutrition level of the common people so that it can have a good impact on their overall health that may lead to economic growth and nation’s development.

This year during National nutrition week, the Government has decided an agenda “Prevention of Anaemia” and will be extended for the entire month known as nutrition month or “Poshan Maah”.

What is Anaemia?

The blood of a human being consists of a pigment called haemoglobin, especially known for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body. Haemoglobin (Hb) is formed from a proper amount of nutrients such as folic acid, iron, protein, vitamin C and vitamin B12. Deficiency in these nutrients causes anaemia which is mostly found in the pregnant women and babies.

This deficit causes decrease in the amount of Hb in the blood which reduces the supply of oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency which is the main cause of Anaemia occurs due to improper nutrition or lack of nutrition.

In addition, to the above-mentioned nutrients, lack of vitamin A in diet can also cause anaemia.

Symptoms of Anaemia

  1. Fatigue
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Dizziness
  4. Pale skin
  5. Insomnia

Proper nutrition is necessary for every individual to prevent anaemia but a pregnant woman requires extra attention for proper growth of the baby. Provided below is a list of some nutrients essential for a pregnant woman:

  • Iron – During pregnancy, a woman needs twice the amount of iron than normal time. The reason behind is the body of a pregnant woman needs to produce extra blood for the baby. So, it is necessary to consume iron-rich foods such as raisins, kidney beans, soybeans and spinach.
  • Folic Acid – Foods such as green leafy vegetables, beetroot, broccoli and orange contains high amount of folate that can help in preventing spinal cord abnormalities and anencephaly in the growing foetus.
  • Vitamin C – Consume broccoli, citrus fruits and guava as they contain vitamin C which is essential for the absorption of iron and formation of collagen in the blood vessels.

Anaemia may turn fatal for the expecting lady as it may lead to varied complications, such as low birth weight of the baby or premature birth. It is always a challenge to provide the deficit nutrients to the baby, post-birth. Hence, it is advisable to consume healthy and nutritious food during the course of pregnancy, which would help in maintaining the required amount of haemoglobin in the blood.

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