Anemia can occur at any time in a person’s life and is very common during pregnancy. This explains why during routine antenatal care, you should always have a blood test, especially during the first trimester and at 20 weeks gestation. Anemia is a decrease in the number of red blood cells, also called hemoglobin in the blood.
Many pregnant women have low iron levels because they previously lost iron through their menstrual cycles. Actually, young women with iron deficiency are common in people with heavy periods and they do not even realize they are iron deficient. You will not have menstruation during the 9 months of pregnancy so it is time for additional iron supplies.
Causes of Anemia during Pregnancy
Preventing anemia is much easier than treating it. Even when the diet is adequate, the pregnant woman may still have anemia. It is therefore very important to see a regular prenatal care doctor.
- Blood levels of hemoglobin in the mother can be dramatically reduced by the baby’s growth needs.
- The increase in blood volume during pregnancy also causes anemia because the concentration of hemoglobin decreases due to dilution compared to normal.
- Low iron diet. A strict diet menu, or eating only low-calorie foods, can lead to problems related to anemia.
- Pregnant women with low birth weight or severe pregnancy may have a higher risk of anemia than other women.
- Threatening miscarriage, prenatal bleeding or other types of hemorrhage may be the cause of anemia.
- The risk of anemia is higher if you have multiple pregnancies.
- Do not have enough time to reserve iron supplementation if this pregnancy is too close to the first miscarriage.
- Chronic blood-related conditions also cause anemia.
Signs and symptoms
If you have these signs and symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible
- Pale skin
- Unusual fatigue, drowsiness, inability to tolerate the pain as usual
- Feeling uncomfortable, and irritable
- Feeling drowned and susceptible to infection.
- It is easy to become breathless
- The mucosa in the lower eyelid is pink if the red blood cell count is normal and pale if it is anemic.
- Supplements of iron in tablets or in water form. Doctors also prescribe ferrous sulfate for pregnant women at risk for anemia.
- Folic acid supplement may be in combination with iron supplements
- Vitamin B12 supplementation in tablet or through diet. Many B12 nutrients are foods such as eggs, meat and milk.
- Vitamin C supplementation is also essential for the absorption of iron. Food is an ideal source of vitamin C. However, vitamin C dissolves in water rather than stored in the body. If you choose a dietary vitamin C supplement, you should make sure that you have enough vitamin C in your daily diet
- Enhance iron through diet. There are two types of iron: heme iron that is found in many types of meat, especially red meat and non-heme iron found in green vegetables such as broccoli, sugar cane, beans.
- Iron may be given by injection or sometimes blood transfusions if needed.
Iron concentration will return to normal within a few weeks after treatment. Otherwise, you will have to do some more tests to find other causes of anemia. Even after birth, you should still take iron supplements because of the loss of blood quite a lot. You should do a blood test at 6 weeks postpartum.
Iron tablets can cause constipation, discomfort in the stomach and change the color to dark green or black. You should take fiber and drink extra water to avoid this side effect.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: June 10, 2017 | Last Modified: June 10, 2017
American Society of Hematology, Anemia and Pregnancy, http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/Pregnancy.aspx. Accessed on May 31, 2017
WebMD, Anemia in Pregnancy, http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/anemia-in-pregnancy#1. Accessed on May 31, 2017