Half of India’s pregnant women are anemic, wherein Iron deficiency affects one in five of the world’s population and is the most prevalent cause of anemia in pregnancy.
Anemia during pregnancy is a matter of serious concern and is common, especially in the second and third trimesters.
Causes of Anaemia during Pregnancy:
When you’re pregnant, to support both you and your growing baby, your body produces more amount of blood than usual. The volume of blood in your body increases but there is a decrease in hemoglobin concentration. To compensate for the concentration of hemoglobin, more iron is required. Without sufficient iron stores, red-blood-cell production slows, along with their energy-boosting oxygen supply.
Less common causes of pregnancy-induced anemia can be vitamin deficiency (B12 or folic acid), blood loss, an underlying condition like kidney disease, an immune disorder or sickle cell anemia.
Anaemia During Pregnancy is Associated With
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Maternal mortality
Symptoms of Anaemia During Pregnancy
The most common symptoms of anaemia during pregnancy are:
- Pale skin, lips, and nails
- Feeling tired or weak
- Shortness of breath
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Numbness or a cold feeling in your hands and feet
- A low body temperature
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Irritability (due specifically to a B12 deficiency)
Initially, some of the symptoms would be the same as you might be facing during pregnancy even if you’re not anemic. So be sure to get routine blood tests to check for anemia.
Diagnostic test for anaemia during pregnancy
If you feel any above symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor would perform a complete blood count (CBC), to evaluate the number of various cells that make up your blood.
If your red blood cell count is low, your doctor will diagnose you with anemia and may give you other blood tests to figure out the type of anemia you have. The CDC test is standard early in your pregnancy — usually at your first prenatal appointment, as part of your initial pregnancy blood test.
Treatment for Anaemia
If you are anemic during your pregnancy, your doctor would recommend you to make certain diet changes along with the intake of supplements. You will be asked to take an iron supplement and/or folic acid supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamins. Another blood test would be performed to assess any improvement in hemoglobin levels.
- To treat vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor may recommend that you take a vitamin B12 supplement along with some diet rich in folic acid and B12.
- To prevent anemia during pregnancy, make sure you get enough iron. Eat well-balanced meals and add more foods that are high in iron to your diet.