Pregnancy Information - Anemia

The pregnancy information given to first time mothers-to-be includes details of anemia which is a very common condition faced by most pregnant women. The frequently observed form of anemia among pregnant women is iron deficiency anemia. This develops due to decreased level of iron in the blood.

During pregnancy, women are advised to take iron supplements if she is found to be iron-deficient. Women who follow a balanced diet, in usual cases, are not anemic. But pregnancy is a demanding situation and iron reserves, if not built up, can lead to problems and complications during delivery.

Causes

The causes leading to anemia during pregnancy are:

  • Inadequate nutrition with loss of appetite and vomiting.

  • It is seen that during pregnancy the process of blood formation is slightly disturbed, leading to anemia.
  • Anemia before pregnancy can continue into the pregnant condition.
  • Demanding pregnancies like teenage pregnancies and multiple pregnancies may cause anemia.

Proper pregnancy nutrition is very important for the health of the mother and the development of the embryo. As the pregnancy progresses, the demand on the mother for nutrition increases and the diet should be adjusted so as to provide an adequate and correct amount of all nutrients.

Iron is very important and must be supplied in food. It is important that early symptoms of anemia are recognized so that iron supplements can be provided. The most commonly occurring symptoms are giddiness, swelling of legs, fatigue, lethargy, breathing difficulty and loss of weight. Once detected, it should be accurately diagnosed for its cause and treated accordingly.

Complications

The complications that can occur if anemia goes undetected and untreated are quite a few. Iron levels less than 10gm% can lead to decreased resistance, making the body prone to many infections. Frequent infections can cause damage to the developing baby, and at the same time, make the mother’s body weak.

Preterm labor is another worry for anemic mothers. Even during and after delivery, excessive bleeding can be caused. This is known as post partum hemorrhage. There are records of heart failure among anemic mothers. Sometimes, sepsis is known to occur after delivery. Other effects include inability of the uterus to shrink back to its original size and failure of lactation.

Either intrauterine death or prematurity is the common effect of severe anemia seen in the new born baby.

Therapy

The main aim of treatment is an increase in the hemoglobin level of the blood and its maintenance. Depending on its severity, pregnancy stage and other complicating factors, iron is given orally to the mother. In very advanced stages, injections of iron are also administered. Anemia occurring beyond thirty six weeks of pregnancy is treated with blood transfusion. Under normal conditions, hemoglobin in the blood comes to normal in four to ten weeks after iron treatment in any form.

Pregnancy information is available at all clinics and on websites catering to expectant mothers. Mothers-to-be should have a complete understanding of the processes taking place in her body and try to remain healthy by eating well so as to keep her baby safe.