Anemia & Pregnancy

Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia is an extremely common pregnancy complication and if you are suffering from anemia it is important that it is diagnosed early on during your pregnancy. During pregnancy there is a fine line between production of blood cells which carry oxygen to your baby and the rest of your body and the destruction of these cells. Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells are low, meaning that the cells which carry oxygen to your baby and yourself is low. During your pregnancy the number of these red blood cells should increase, as well as the plasma, which is the liquid part of your blood. Your doctor may keep track of this with the aid of regular blood tests, using a hematocrit reading, which measures the ratio of blood to blood cells. If you are anemic, then your hematocrit will be lower than 37.
There are three main types of Anemia
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia This is the most common type of anemia in pregnancy. During your pregnancy your baby will use some of your iron stores you have in your body and if you have iron deficiency anemia, then your body will not have enough iron store to produce blood cells. Most prenatal vitamins contain iron to help replenish the lost iron stores. It is vital that you take a supplement that contains iron daily as it is poorly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately there may be side effects to taking iron supplements, most common is constipation but can also cause vomiting and nausea and an upset stomach.
  • Sickle-Cell Anemia In sickle-cell anemia your body basically produces red blood cells which are abnormal and this causes the red blood cells to block the blood vessel. This could in turn be passed on to your baby. Women who have sickle-cell anemia pyelonephritis and bacteria in her urine during her pregnancy. Sickle-cell anemia is easily picked up by means of a blood test and there are various ways to treat it.
  • Thalassemia This is another form of anemia which is encountered less frequently and is found more often in Mediterranean populations. It is basically the underproduction of a protein that makes up red blood cells. If you have a family history of this particular disorder consult your doctor.
Anemia & Pregnancy

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