“I’m 22 weeks pregnant and absolutely exhausted. Could my iron levels be low?”
Yes, it definitely could! Don’t forget, you’re growing a new human being! Depending on your hydration status, how busy you are; it could be a lot of things. A very common cause of fatigue in pregnancy is anemia or low iron, so it would be worth getting that checked with your GP! Make sure to mention it at your next appointment and they may feel the best course of action is to get some bloods taken, just to check for anemia or anything else.
If you’re concerned about your iron levels, there are a few things you can do to ensure your levels don’t get too low.
If you’re a meat eater, try to get at least 2-3 portions of good quality red meat a week. Things like beef or lamb, preferably from whole cut of meat, as in a slice of roast beef or lamb meat in a stew, as opposed to minced varieties as these don’t tend to have the same iron content.
If you’re not a meat eater, great sources of iron for you would be beans, pulses, lentils, curry spices and snacking on small amounts of dried fruits. When snacking on dried fruit, just be aware of sugar levels, so only small amounts, dried fruits like prunes, figs and dried apricots, combined with nuts or seeds as a snack are really good options.
The secret with iron status in pregnancy is don’t let it get low in the first place. Once you know you are pregnant, make these slight dietary changes so you’re well prepared.
If you do need to supplement, you can get gentle forms of iron in your local pharmacy or health food store. My experience is a liquid iron tends to be better absorbed and digested so look out for those.