The average haemoglobin level for a pregnant woman is 11.5-13.5 grams per deciliter. The minimum average value is 11g/dl in the first and third trimesters and 10.5 g/dl in the second trimester.
However, when the values are below these ranges, it is considered anaemic.
Anaemia due to an iron folate acid deficiency increases the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and postpartum maternal infections over time.
Also, a haemoglobin level of fewer than 5.0 grams per deciliter could result in heart failure or death. Therefore, to avoid these and other anomalies, your blood level should constantly be checked and not treated with levity.
If there’s anything you and your baby need to thrive, it is the sufficiency of blood.
Ugwu Leaves: Benefits and Components
The Ugwu leaves, also known as fluted pumpkin leaves, is a well-known dark green leafy vegetable commonly consumed in every part of Nigeria but has its bearing majorly in the South East and South West.
The term ‘ugu’, erroneously referred to as ‘ugwu’ by non-native speakers, has its root in the Igbo land. While the Hausas and Efiks call it kabewa and Ikong Ubong, respectively, the Yorubas do not have a name for it.
It contains a healthy amount of vitamins.
Ugu leaves, among other classes of vegetables, have several health benefits. Below are some of the health benefits:
- Boosts blood haemoglobin level: The presence of iron and other essential minerals helps fight anaemia. The green leaf enriches the blood cells much more than any other vegetable. The haemoglobin also helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the other cells and the foetus.
- Serves as an anti-diabetic medication: The presence of polysaccharides and ethyl acetate in ugu leaves lowers the blood sugar level, thereby treating diabetes mellitus. It aids in building a shield against an upsurge of glucose in the blood.
- An excellent dietary fibre source: The high dietary fibre content in ugu leaves is a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal issues.
- Treatment of dry skin: Due to their high content of Vitamins A and C (powerful antioxidants), green leafy vegetables are notable for treating dry skin. It replenishes dead cells in the body and maintains the skin tissues.
The richness in antioxidants helps to reverse UV rays and correct skin damage. Therefore, realising that its benefits are not limited to culinary use shouldn't be a wonder.
- Strengthens the bones and teeth: The Nigerian ugu leaves are rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, contributing to strong bones and teeth. It aids in the protection against osteoporosis.
Ugu leaves are versatile in a variety of ways. It goes as an accompaniment or side dish to delicacies, incorporated into main dishes, or extracted as juice after it has passed through the process of mashing (If prepared to take as juice, add milk as a sweetener)
Ugwu Leaves in Pregnancy: A Natural Blood Tonic
From the detailed description of the constituents, ugwu leaves are a natural blood tonic that can single-handedly pump your blood level.
The fact that it is natural makes it more beautiful as you do not have to worry about the components of preservatives or chemical-induced additives, as opposed to other artificial mediums.
So, if the question is whether ugu vegetable is ideal for you as a preggie, the answer is a big Yes!
However, it is vital to take cognisance of some factors before its consumption, as negligence of it can be hazardous:
- Go for fresh leaves.
- Pick carefully and check for microbes and insects.
- Wash thoroughly with salt and sufficient water.
- Do not overcook nor blanch to still retain its nutrients.
It is key to note that your doctor has better knowledge than you do, whatever the case. Therefore, do not hesitate to reach out for a good guide.