Did you know that anemia is a common problem for women who are pregnant? This medical condition affects persons who have red blood cells deficiency regardless of their age, but women are more vulnerable to it during pregnancy. You can read this article to know more about anemia during pregnancy, including things like the 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 blood, which has electrolytes, hormones, vitamins and so on for its development because of the occurrence of anemia. This can lead to poor fetal growth, low birth weight, and the baby coming before the actual pregnancy term is completed.
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 and it transports oxygen out of the lungs to the other areas of the body. If you have an 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. At this time, the baby will require the red blood cells from your blood for continued development. 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. 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 for 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.
What Causes Anemia during Pregnancy
There are several things that could cause you to have anemia but it has been observed that being pregnant with twins and iron deficiency are the most common ones. Lack of a healthy and nutritious diet is another cause. Aside from that, women who drink alcohol and smoke have a greater risk of being affected by this condition.
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.
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 includes 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.