Anemia During Pregnancy - Types, Causes And Treatment

Anemia During Pregnancy

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Are you expecting? Then get yourself readied for some unwanted issues like lethargy, weakness and drowsiness for the next few months. You may find it difficult to carry out even the simplest of works and would want to keep lazing around all day. This is because usually with the onset of pregnancy, anemia comes into the equation.

All you need is rest and proper treatment. Since lack of hemoglobin in the blood can cause harm to the fetus and carry less oxygen to the developing baby in your womb. Read on to know more about anemia in pregnancy.

What Is Anemia?

According to the medical dictionary, anemia is a condition where your blood has low red blood cells count or have low hemoglobin. The red colour of your blood derives from Hemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to rest of your body via this iron-rich protein. During pregnancy, more blood has to be produced in order to support the growth and development of your foetus. You

r diet needs to be rich in various nutrients like iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, in absence of these your body may not able to produce the amount of red blood cells it requires.

Mild anemia is common in women, but if the levels are very low in expectant mothers, it can lead to many complications like preterm delivery, low birth-weight baby or a baby with anemia or postpartum depression. It can also cause developmental delays in children.The baby can also get anemia from the mother. Sometimes blood transfusion during pregnancy can also lead to anemia if there is a severe blood loss. Here’s some information that will help you prevent and deal with anemia during pregnancy:

Types of Anemia:

Anemia has several forms. The three most common ones that can occur during pregnancy are-

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia: Iron deficiency anemia is the most prevailing form of anemia observed in expectant mothers. It occurs when the body doesn’t have enough amount of iron to produce adequate hemoglobin. Shortness of breath and extreme fatigue are the symptoms of this deficiency.
  • Folate Deficiency Anemia: Folate or Folic acid is a type of Vitamin B that is present in many foods in small amounts. It plays an important role in development of healthy foetus, also in formation of the spinal cord and brain of your baby. Deficiency of folate leads to megaloblastic anemia and a number of birth defects such as spina bifida (neural tube abnormality) or low birth weight.

Megaloblastosis is a group of heterogeneous disorder that share similar morphological characteristics, large cells with an arrest in nuclear maturation. Nuclear maturation is much more immature than cytoplasmic maturity. So the cells that can be seen under microscope in the bone marrow and peripheral smears are termed megaloblasts. Megaloblastic changes happen in rapidly dividing cells like blood cells and gastrointestinal cells. These megaloblastic abnormalities are due to impaired DNA synthesis and lesser extent of RNA protein synthesis.

Vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies are the major cause behind megaloblastic or macrocytic anemia. A few medications also cause megaloblastic anemia. Vitamin B 12 is different from the water soluble vitamins that are stored in the liver.Vitamin B12 has to be protected through its passage through the gastrointestinal tract to the distal ileum which is the actual site of vitamin B12 absorption.

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia: Lack of vitamin B12 in the body leads to poor formation of blood cells; in a condition like pregnancy where the entire body goes through a dramatic change, good amounts of this crucial vitamin are required. Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is known to induce preterm labor.

Criteria of Anemia during Different Stages of Pregnancy:

Trimester Hemoglobin (g/dL) Hematocrit (%)
First <11 <33
Second <10.5 <32
Third <11 <33

Causes of Anemia in Pregnancy:

So why exactly does anemia level sores high during pregnancy in most women? Well, we’ve listed down the most probable options down here.

  1. Haemodilution is the prime causative factor behind the prevalence of anemia during pregnancy. It occurs physiologically- the plasma volume of blood increases which leads to low count of hematocrit and hyponatraemia. This may result in lower hemoglobin concentration.The plasma helps to carry nutrients and oxygen to the baby. The excess of plasma dilutes the red blood cells in the body and lower the level to 10.5gm/dl. This results in normal anemia in pregnancy.
  2. Another cause of anemia among expectant mommies is due to the diet, which may be low in iron and other nutrients and may not be able to meet the increased demands of the child development.
  3. Blood loss due to hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, hemophilia or hookworm can also bring down the hemoglobin levels.
  4. If the pregnant woman has heavy prepregnancy menstrual flow then she can be anemic. The normal physiology of carrying a developing baby may cause anemia.
  5. If there is no spacing between the two pregnancies then there is an increased risk of developing anemia since the mother’s body has not recovered it.
  6. The risk of anemia also increases in the case of multiple pregnancies.

Generally the body of a pregnant woman adapts to the need of the developing baby. Eating wisely can help to fight anemia effectively.