Anemia in Pregnancy – Symptoms, Causes and Effects

anemia in pregnancy

Anemia in Pregnancy – Symptoms, Causes and Effects

During one’s pregnancy, the iron requirements of the body go up appreciably. Haemoglobin is needed to help carry oxygen to different cells of the body for which Iron is essentially required.

The body has approximately 50% more blood than usual when one is pregnant. So there is an additional requirement of iron for synthesising haemoglobin in the increased blood flow, for the growing baby and the placenta.

In a patient with anaemia the body lacks adequate iron which synthesises the required haemoglobin amount. Now with the increased demand of iron, it is likely for you to become anaemic if you do not regulate your diet accordingly.

Symptoms of anemia in pregnancy:

  • Constant fatigue or weakness
  • Dizzy spells
  • Experiencing trouble breathing, or shortness of breath.
  • Irregular heartbeat or rapid heartbeat
  • Skin and lips turning pale
  • Hands and feet turning cold constantly.
  • Having trouble concentrating.

Causes of Anemia in pregnancy

The reason why most pregnant women are anemic is because when you’re pregnant, as discussed above, your blood volume increases by almost 50 percent, for supporting both you and your baby. This causes the hemoglobin concentration in your blood to decrease. Because your body needs enough iron to make hemoglobin, and doesn’t receive it enough, your oxygen supply, which boosts energy dwindles. What’s the result? A forever tired you!

There might be other causes of anemia, as well, that you’ll need to get checked out, just to rule them out.

  • Vitamin deficiency (Folic acid, B12)
  • Blood loss
  • Kidney disease
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Effects of anemia in pregnancy:

Like detailed above, apart from constant tiredness, anemia can have other effects too.

During delivery

Anaemia during your pregnancy increases risks of

  • Preterm delivery (when the baby is born more than three weeks before the baby is due)
  • Low birth weight baby (babies who are born with a birth weight lower than 2500gms)
  • Stillborn baby (a baby who is born without any signs of life after 24weeks of pregnancy)
  • Newborn death (a baby which dies right after birth)

To your baby:

Your baby will ensure she takes her share of the iron, which is before you. But a reduced iron supply to the baby could possibly affect her and increase her risks of developing anaemia in infancy.

Your health:

Being anaemic can drain one of energy and make it harder for the body to fight infections.

In case you lose a lot of blood during delivery, Anaemia can increase problems and cause side effects like dizziness, increased heart rate, etc.

There are studies which suggest being anaemic increases one’s risk of developing postpartum depression.

You must thus consult your gynaecologist and ensure you have adequate supplies of iron throughout your pregnancy.

Prevention and treatment of Anemia in pregnancy:

Prevention of anemia in pregnancy is relatively easy because all you need to do is change or add certain foods to your diet. Most doctors recommend pregnant women to have at least 30 mg of iron, in any form, per day.

Don’t be worried, there are a lot of iron-rich foods, which are yummy as well, contrary to popular belief, that you can add to your diet.

Examples:

  1. Eggs
  2. Green, leafy, vegetables like spinach and brocolli.
  3. Lean, red meats
  4. Poultry
  5. Nuts

When you’re eating these iron rich foods, try to add in some Vitamin C as well, it’s known to boost iron absorption so this would be super beneficial.

Vitamin C rich foods :

  1. Lime
  2. Oranges
  3. Strawberries
  4. Kiwis
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Bell peppers

Apart from taking all the foods mentioned above, make sure you’re in constant touch with your doctor regarding your anemia and keep him or her posted on your progress. Good luck!

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