Anemia during pregnancy is a global health issue among pregnant women. During this ailment, the body becomes deficient in red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. It results in fatigue and weakness. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to anemia due to the increased demand for blood and nutrients to support fetal growth.
Iron deficiency is the major reason for anemia during pregnancy. The amount of iron a woman has in her body before becoming pregnant and the amount of iron she absorbs during pregnancy are the two main contributing factors to IDA. As a result, iron supplementation during pregnancy has become a routine practice to prevent IDA.
A protein named hemoglobin is a part of red blood cells. It stores oxygen and sends it to the organs. Iron and vitamins play an important role in the formation of hemoglobin. According to health experts, without these nutrients, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen, leading to anemia.
Types of Anemia during Pregnancy
There are several kinds of anemia in pregnant women. It may include iron-deficiency anemia, folate-deficiency anemia, and vitamin B12 deficiency. For pregnant women, iron supplementation is a common and routine practice to prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia during pregnancy most frequently takes the form of iron-deficiency anemia.
In such cases, the body becomes deficient in iron to make enough hemoglobin. Folate-deficiency anemia occurs when a pregnant woman’s diet is insufficient in folate, which is required for the production of healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to anemia during pregnancy, particularly in women who do not consume animal products.
It does not show symptoms unless your cell counts are at an extremely low level. Possible symptoms include:
- Pale skin, lips, nails, palms of the hands, or eyelid creases
- Feeling tired
- Vertigo or dizziness are sensations of spinning (vertigo) or imbalance
- Breathing slowly
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
- Concentration problems
It is possible to get confused with anemia symptoms as they may resemble those of other conditions. So, it’s better to consult your physician for a proper diagnosis. It would help your doctor determine the exact cause of the iron deficiency and get the right treatment plan.
Risk factors for developing anemia during pregnancy include carrying multiple babies, a history of heavy menstrual flow, frequent vomiting due to morning sickness, and not consuming enough iron. If a woman loses an excessive amount of blood during and after childbirth, it may also lead to anemia.
A pregnant woman is at risk of developing various types of anemia. Anemia during pregnancy is usually caused by iron, folate, or vitamin B12 deficiency. A complete blood count (CBC) test can detect anemia during pregnancy and is usually performed at the first prenatal appointment. Your doctor may prescribe some more tests as your pregnancy progresses.
The doctor may examine your red blood cell count and size, as well as your hemoglobin, ferritin, folate, and vitamin B12 levels.
What are the Possible Treatments?
Pregnancy-related anemia treatment options vary based on the individual’s age, overall health, and the severity of the condition. It is a common practice to treat iron deficiency with iron supplements and vitamins. Some iron supplements work slowly over time, while others need to be taken several times daily. Besides taking iron supplements, following a healthy and balanced diet can help prevent or manage the symptoms of anemia.
Can Food Help with Anemia?
Certain foods are particularly effective in treating anemia.
Certain foods contain more iron than others. For instance, animal-based foods are particularly iron-rich and readily absorbable.
- Meat (cooked red meat such as beef and lamb) and pulses (beans, peas, and lentils) are rich in iron.
- Fresh green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, spinach, watercress, parsley, and spring onions Seeds, including sunflower or sesame seeds
- Prunes, raisins, figs, and unsulfured apricots are included.
- Fish like grilled mackerel and canned tuna; whole grains like brown rice; and nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts
Pregnancy Anemia Fact File
- Preterm birth and low birth weight are both risk factors for anemia during pregnancy.
- Iron deficiency is the most common cause of pregnancy anemia.
- Taking prenatal vitamins that contain iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 can help prevent anemia during pregnancy.
- Anemia associated with pregnancy is a common condition that impacts 15–25% of pregnant women worldwide.
- If they don’t eat enough iron-rich foods while pregnant, vegetarian or vegan women may be more likely to experience anemia.
- Multiple pregnancies or heavy menstrual bleeding may increase the risk of anemia during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women with anemia may require iron supplements or vitamin injections to treat their condition.
- Iron supplements can sometimes cause constipation, nausea, and stomach upset, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to take them.
The most effective way to treat the most common types of anemia is to consume enough iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid. Take prenatal vitamins daily. Dietary changes can also be beneficial. Consume more iron-rich foods, such as spinach, lean beef, and turkey. Consult the best gynecologist in Lahore regarding the recommended prenatal vitamin.
1. How is anemia in pregnancy treated?
The treatment of anemia during pregnancy typically involves taking vitamin supplements. A blood transfusion may be necessary in certain circumstances. However, most cases of pregnancy-related anemia can be prevented from developing or becoming severe.
2. How do you conduct an anemia test?
The complete blood count is one of the most popular blood tests for anemia. This examination frequently takes place as part of a regular checkup. This test measures a few components of blood, like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cell counts that are abnormally high or low can signify anemia.
3. Who has a greater chance of developing anemia?
Many individuals are at risk for anemia due to poor diet, intestinal disorders, chronic diseases, infections, and other factors. The highest risk of developing anemia, however, is among pregnant or menstruating women, as well as people with long-term illnesses. Age is also associated with a higher risk of developing anemia.