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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Article Home Women's Health Anemia during pregnancy

Anemia during pregnancy

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Anemia in pregnancy is very common condition and occurs in 80% of the pregnant women. In pregnancy the volume of blood increases leading to decrease in the concentration of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Thus the pregnant women could notice few symptoms like tiredness by end of day, swelling in the legs, look paler etc.

There are various physiological responses shown by the body towards pregnancy in a female.

Causes

  • Iron deficiency is the main cause for anemia in pregnancy and responsible for 95% of anemia in pregnancy. Anemia occurs in pregnancy sue to increased demand for iron by the developing fetus.
  • Poor intake of iron in diet.
  • Folic acid deficiency.
  • Loss of blood from bleeding hemorrhoids or gastrointestinal bleeding as in ulcers.

Prevention

  • Taking iron rich foods like liver, beef, dates, whole grain breads, cereals, eggs, dried fruits etc.
  • Consuming food rich in folic acid like wheat germ, beans, oatmeal, mushrooms, lever etc.
  • Take foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, fresh, raw vegetables. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption.
  • Taking prenatal vitamin and miner supplements like folic acid.

Signs and symptoms

  • Common symptoms: Tiredness, weakness or fainting, paleness, breathlessness.
  • Occasional symptoms: Headache, nausea, inflamed sore tongue, palpitations.

Risk factors

  • Anemia is more commonly associated with:
  • Twin or multiple pregnancies.
  • Poor nutrition, especially multiple vitamin deficiencies.
  • Smoking.
  • Any disorder which reduces the absorption of minerals.
  • Excess alcohol consumption.
  • Use of anticonvulsant medications.
  • Bleeding during pregnancy.

Diagnosis

  • Complete blood count like hemoglobin level, hematocrit, red blood cell count.
  • Serum folate level.
  • Serum iron level.
  • Serum ferritin level.
  • Peripheral blood smears.

Complications of anemia during pregnancy

  • Preterm labor.
  • Increased incidence of post partum hemorrhage.
  • Increased susceptibility to infection after child birth.
  • Worsening of anemia after blood loss after delivery.
  • Low birth weight of the child.
  • Growth retardation of the fetus.

Treatment

  • Iron deficiency anemia is treated with iron supplements either orally or through intramuscular injections.
  • Folic acid deficiency anemia is treated with folic acid supplements. Taking iron rich foods in diet.
  • Avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid intake of caffeine.