Friday, October 29, 2010

Suggestions for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers

I was low on iron during my first pregnancy. My ObGyn placed me on an iron supplement that slightly improved my  levels, but  lead to chronic constipation. It was my stool, more than anything, that was "iron enriched."

Through my studies and understanding of the passageways of toxins during pregnancy, I  adamantly believe that we want to avoid constipation at this time. When the intestine does not "move," toxins are not pushed out of the body and are available in the large intestine to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream where they can be delivered over the placenta (which does not filter them all out, unfortunately) to our growing baby.

The body naturally tries to eliminate toxins through the intestine and in the stool. When we slow down and stall the movement of the stool, we undermine this process. The baby becomes the receptacle for the toxins--not at all what we want to happen.

The good news is that time tested, iron-rich home remedies are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Remedy One: Pears in Red Wine

For a later birth, my Swiss midwife suggested this old and unusual remedy: take three slices of dried, organic pears and simmer them in a couple ounces of red wine. Eat the pear slices and drink the wine (which contains no alcohol because it  simmered off) throughout the day. This remedy worked like a charm for me during pregnancy, increasing my iron levels and "moving me along."

Remedy Two: Blackstrap Molasses

Many mothers have found relief for iron deficiency with blackstrap molasses, which also has a reputation as a galactagogue. This dark, bitter-sweet syrup is the mineral-rich "left over" from the refining process that removes sugar from its source, sugar cane. The white sugar we buy at the store has had all its original minerals removed, which are now found in blackstrap molasses. Buy organic molasses from a reliable source, as cheaper kinds may be stretched with corn syrup.

A teaspoon of molasses, added to a cup of hot water, drunk 2-3 times a day, provides a sweet hot drink that is traditionally used to abate anemia.

You'll want to avoid or limit your use of blackstrap molasses (and all sugar concentrations) if you have blood-sugar and insulin issues, and if you have problems with normal, very very slow weightloss after birth. Also, keep an eye on your baby's digestion/colic if you take any form of concentrated sugar. Some babies react sensitively to any amount of sugary food eaten by the mother.

Remedy Three: Raw Beet Root   

One of my favorite iron providers is the raw red beet root. I would cut the round red root into quarter-inch slices and leave it on the table as a snack. When my family ate this on a daily basis,  our iron levels went through the roof.

Now, beet root can taste sweet and yummy, but, depending on the soil and weather conditions it can also be tart and unpleasant, especially those beets that are bright red and yellow. I've had greatest success with the dark red, purplish vegetable.

Now, raw beet root has a puckering effect. What I discovered however is that if you slice the root as described above and then leave it to "breathe" for about 15 minutes, it exhumes whatever is in it that causes the pucker. It now tastes delicious, and the air-dried root also no longer stains. Once your children are used to it, they will grab for those slices as though they are cookies.


  1. Very useful info i too had anaemia during pregnancy i used to eat more iron tablets this link helps to me to suggest good iron food instead of tablets anaemia-during-pregnancy

  2. good blog :) here's more info on anemia if required