All my life I knew I was a little anaemic. This is where my body has less or borderline the healthy amount of red blood cells, which makes it a little easier for me to bleed and feel weak. Not too bad usually, but uncomfortable.
I try to donate blood, but my lack of iron always makes it hard to donate, due to my iron deficiency. I used to take iron supplements but I always hated those large tablets and that it makes my stool pretty dark. I took them for about a year in my high school days then I stopped.
By the time I was pregnant, after I got my blood test results, I was floored when I found out I was a likely Thalassemia carrier.
What is Thalassemia?
I have heard of Thalassemia growing up, but my understanding never go beyond of knowing that it was a blood disorder and they have to go through blood transfusions about once a month for the rest of their lives, otherwise, worst case scenario they might die.
So obviously when I found out I was a carrier, I was in shock. As a carrier, I didn't have to live with the effects of the disorder but if my husband was a carrier too, both positives will almost certainly confirmed my baby was a carrier and a patient of it.
I did more blood tests to see if I had Thalassemia beta first, as that was the less chronic of the two and it came back as negative, but knowing I had some chance of still being a Thalassemia carrier, I tested for Thalassemia alpha, and the test was highly likely but still inconclusive so more tests needed to be done. Here I'd like to say I am not a fan of needles and I needed to endure it just to make sure my baby was healthy. By my 3rd test, I was worn out from worry and being pregnant, constantly sore and tired did not help.
The best option was to wait for my husband to do a blood test, because at this point we still didn't know if he had anaemia anyway. I was in Kuching, Malaysia while he was stuck offshore in Malabo, Africa. By the time he came, I was about 30 weeks into my pregnancy with Peanut. After he did his blood test and came back negative for anaemia, you will not believe the relief I had. Not only for my baby's health but also I could quit doing those stupid blood tests.
Generally I try to eat high iron foods, drink more dairy products to up my calcium and just moderate what I love to eat. Thankfully, I had a pretty easy pregnancy and my baby still came out quite healthy!
Praise the Lord.
For Iron Deficiency during pregnancy:
Leafy Greens & Broccoli
Beans & Peas
Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, persimmons)
Livers & Organs
This is an old wives' tale and a misconception that it contains high iron intake. However, pregnant women should stay away from Livers & Organs due to the high Vitamin A content.
We get 3enough Vitamin A in our daily meat and vegetables intake and 2too much of Vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity.
1. Holm, G. (2016). Thalassemia. [online] Healthline. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/thalassemia#Overview1 [Accessed 15 May 2016].
2. IOM. (2000). Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies.
3. Mayo Clinic. Undated. Vitamin A (retinol). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-a/NS_patient-vitamina