Anemia in pregnancy, addressing it as per Ayurveda
Anemia can be defined as a condition during which body parts such as skin, eyes, and nails lose their color and become pale, and the concentration of peripheral blood hemoglobin is reduced to less than 11gm% and 10gm% in developed and developing countries respectively. In essence, it is a condition when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to different parts of the body. According to ancient ayurvedic literature, Anemia signifies the imbalance of the “Agni'' of the body. Anemia is a persistent disorder and is related to almost all aspects of gestational life. Pregnant women are at a high risk of developing it because during this time a very high demand for essential nutrients is manifested. As per Ayurveda consumption of hot, spicy, salty, fermented, unsuitable food, food of faulty combination, products like mash (vigna mungo), nishpav (phaseolus vulgaris), pinyak (sesame paste) and sesame oil should be consumed.
Hyperacidity, day sleep, heavy exercise, excess coital acts, holding the urges of alcohol and excessive liquid diet causes anemia, which is responsible for nutritional deficiency and malabsorption. Pregnancy anemia is very critical for delivery and preparing for the loss of blood hence it should not be overlooked. If not treated it can be very dangerous for both the mother and child.
Consequences of anemia during pregnancy
Further it is associated with a variety of consequences some of which are as follows:
- Preterm labor
- Low birth weight
- Postpartum depression
- Developmental delays in the child
- Folic acid deficiency which may lead to neurological malfunctioning.
Solutions as per Ayurveda
Ayurveda serves a critical role in the prevention and treatment of anemia during pregnancy. Following are some ayurvedic recommendations which you can consume for iron deficiency.
Beetroot and amla:
Include beetroot and amla juice in your diet which helps in the activation of RBCs that in turn will increase the amount of fresh oxygen available to the body.
One can also eat “Methi/Fenugreek” seeds after soaking them in water overnight. You can also add these seeds to the rice, boil them and then consume them
Try eating a pomegranate/ anar on a daily basis to increase your RBCs.
To enhance the hemoglobin of blood, try eating bananas.
Green leafy vegetables:
Consume green leafy vegetables due to their iron-rich characteristics such as broccoli, beans, apricots, pumpkin seeds, tofu, spinach and whole grains.
Avoid viruddh ahar:
Milk is also a very important part of the diet but avoid consuming it after taking calcium supplements as it can hinder the absorption of calcium in the body, or along with fruits as it can cause/aggravate digestive issues and cause liver toxicity
Vitamin C rich food:
Consume a vitamin C rich diet along with lemons, and tomatoes as they help in the proper absorption of iron.
Soak 15-20 black resin and eat them the next morning it not only helps in increasing the hemoglobin but also helps in constipation.
Make a mixture of 1 cup apple juice and 1 cup beetroot juice along with some honey to help recover the lost iron.
Along with all the diet recommendations, one must also do pranayama to enhance the oxygenation of the blood. You will notice as the uterus grows during pregnancy the breathing will become shallower but keep on doing it along with “anuloma villoma” and “Ujjayi” breathing.
Suggested Lifestyle changes
Along with these diet recommendations, one must do some lifestyle or “Vihar” changes such as
- Quit drinking and smoking.
- Include regular exercise to support the uterus.
- Refrain from coming in close contact with pets as they can cause some infection.
- Including a good amount of sleep without any stress.