Did you know that anemia is a common problem for women who are pregnant? Anemia is the most common hematological condition in pregnant women. This medical condition affects persons who have a deficiency of healthy red blood cells, but women are more vulnerable to it during pregnancy.
You can read this article to know more about anemia during pregnancy, including its different types, causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Anemia is a serious medical condition, so it could cause some severe complications during pregnancy. The fetus might not get enough oxygen for its development because of anemia.
This can lead to poor fetal growth, low birth weight, and the baby coming before the actual pregnancy term is completed.
Symptoms of Anemia during Pregnancy
If you are suffering from anemia, you might experience certain symptoms during pregnancy when your red blood cell count becomes too low. These include extreme fatigue or tiredness, dizzy feeling, difficulty breathing, paleness of the skin, lips, palm, nails, and other areas.
Types of Anemia That Can Affect Women during Pregnancy
You could develop several types of anemia during pregnancy, including:
Iron deficiency: This type of anemia usually occurs when the body is not getting sufficient iron in order to produce satisfactory amounts of hemoglobin.
This is a protein in the red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the other areas of the body and vice versa for carbon dioxide.
If you have iron-deficiency anemia, enough oxygen will not be transported by the blood to the tissues throughout your body. This deficiency is found mostly during the final three months of pregnancy.
You will become anemic if you are not consuming enough foods which have iron to restore the red blood cells that you have lost.
Folate deficiency: Folate is called ‘folic acid’ as well and it’s a type of B-vitamin. It is vital in order for you to have a healthy baby so your body needs extra amounts during pregnancy to produce brand-new cells which include healthy red blood cells.
Folate is required for the synthesis of DNA molecules, and its deficiency can result in fetal malformations and anemia in a woman.
If you are not getting enough from your diet, your body won’t make enough of the normal red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues. This deficiency can contribute directly to certain forms of birth defects including low birth weight and spina bifida or neural tube abnormalities.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: During pregnancy, your body needs this vitamin to create healthy red blood cells. You will have a higher risk of developing this deficiency if you are vegetarian or if you don’t eat poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products. This might lead to birth defects like neural tube abnormalities and preterm labor.
It is important to mention that every pregnant woman will be at risk of having anemia because they require more folic acid and iron than normal.
However, you will have a higher risk if you had two pregnancies near to each other, are pregnant with more than one child, are a teenager, are vomiting a lot due to morning sickness, had anemia prior to becoming pregnant or you are not eating enough iron-rich foods.
Treatment for Anemia during Pregnancy
The treatment is different for one person to another. You would get medications or treatments after a doctor looked at your health and medical history during pregnancy.
Like most pregnant women who are diagnosed with anemia, you are likely to get Vitamin B12 and iron supplements.
These are usually given to be taken two times a day because an excessive amount of supplements could lead to side effects such as constipation.
There are instances when the body might not absorb iron, in which case intra-muscular iron injections might be given.
If your anemia is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, it might be necessary for you to take vitamin B12 supplements to boost the red blood cells count.
How to Prevent Anemia
The best way to avoid having anemia during pregnancy is to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet with well-balanced meals that include sufficient amounts of iron.
It is important to add green leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes, rice, beef, pasta, pork, chicken, milk, etc., to your diet. Furthermore, it is also very important to stop smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.
You should also follow your physician’s instructions on how to take prenatal vitamins which contain sufficient amounts of folic acid and iron.
Ensure that you keep this information in mind to avoid anemia during pregnancy and have a healthy baby.