When you contract anaemia, it means that there aren’t enough red blood cells in your body to carry the required amount of oxygen to all your cells. This impairs the function of your muscles and organs. You may suffer iron deficiency in pregnancy and it can lead to a number of complications. Read on to know more.
What Causes iron deficiency in pregnancy?
Iron is necessary to produce red blood cells. When you are pregnant your body generates more blood than usual. But, if you are not eating iron-rich foods, then there will be a dearth of iron in your body. Which means, your body will not be able to produce as much haemoglobin (contained in red blood cells) as it needs. This form of anaemia also goes by the name – iron deficiency anaemia.
Two other common forms of iron deficiency in pregnancy are –
- Folate deficiency anaemia
- Anaemia caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency
What increases iron deficiency risks during pregnancy?
It is quite normal to be slightly anaemic during pregnancy. Very low levels of iron during these vital months becomes a possibility if you-
- Avoid meat, poultry and dairy
- Have a history of anaemia
- Experience severe morning sickness
- Are pregnant with twins
- Bleed heavily during periods
- Had a baby less than a year ago
- Are younger than 20 years
What are the symptoms of anaemia during pregnancy?
Here are a few indicators of pregnancy anaemia-
- Extreme pallor of the skin
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Short attention span
In the early phases of iron deficiency in pregnancy, these symptoms resemble the physical discomfort all women have to endure when they are pregnant. That is why you need to undergo regular blood tests to monitor your haemoglobin levels.
Complications of anemia in pregnancy
Extreme levels of low iron in pregnancy can raise your chances of-
- The baby being born ahead of schedule
- Your child might be very underweight and anaemic
- The baby may exhibit delayed development
- Postpartum depression
- Losing a lot of blood during delivery
Anaemia can even be fatal for both mother and child.
Management of anemia in pregnancy
If blood tests reveal that you are anaemic during your pregnancy, your doctor will recommend iron supplements. You may also have to take supplements of folic acid or prenatal Vitamin capsules depending on the kind of anaemia you have contracted.
You will also have to consume foods that are high in iron, folates and Vitamin B. Your doctor will advise you to opt for another blood test soon after you start your medication to ensure that the supplement consumptions is yielding the desired effects.
Iron deficiency in pregnancy can have a terrible impact on the health of both you and your baby. A little bit of precaution and care is all it takes to avoid it.