Pregnancy and Anemia – Causes, What To Do Plus Medical Studies
In the following feature about pregnancy and anaemia, you can find out about:
- Anemia and Its Causes
- Pregnancy and Anemia
- Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnant Women
- What Causes Anemia in Pregnant Women
- What Can You Do To Prevent Anaemia during Pregnancy
- Pregnancy and Anemia Medical Studies
Due to the high demand for minerals such as iron during pregnancy, some pregnant women are diagnosed with anaemia. Since a pregnant woman is eating and breathing for two, naturally it’s very important that she gets the optimum level of nutrients required to optimize her and her baby’s health.
1. Anemia and Its Causes
Anaemia is a health condition primarily characterized by insufficiency of red blood cells which is normally caused by an increased loss or reduced production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12, folic acid and iron are very essential minerals which play vital roles in the formation and production of red blood cells. Without these minerals, anaemia is very likely to occur.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anaemia. It actually plays a vital role in the formation of red blood cells. Meanwhile, folic acid plays an important role in the production of healthy red blood cells. Insufficient level of red blood cells results to the insufficient production of red blood cells which transports oxygen to other tissues of the body.
According to research, during pregnancy, the volume of blood in the body increases by almost 50%. This is your body’s natural way of supporting your baby’s growth and development. However, if the body does not get adequate amount of nutrients such as iron, it may not be able to produce the required amount of red blood cells.
Increased blood supply usually leads to a reduced haemoglobin concentration. This means that the body requires more iron to produce haemoglobin. Iron plays an essential role in the formation of haemoglobin. It is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to other cells as well as to the foetus in the uterus.
2. Pregnancy and Anemia
Many pregnant women are surprised to know that they are anaemic during their pregnancy. Even if you are not anaemic prior to your pregnancy, it is not uncommon to develop such condition during this period. Your baby has an excellent way of getting his iron need. He actually gets his share of iron before you do. This makes you very prone to suffer from anaemia if you don’t get sufficient amount of iron daily. This condition is very common during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Mild anaemia is said to be very common during pregnancy. However, severe forms of anaemia should treated well during this crucial stage as it can place your baby at a greater risk for anaemia during its infancy. Also, it increases your risk for pre-term delivery and low-birth weight.
3. Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnant Women
During pregnancy, the placenta and the foetus have their own requirement for red blood cells. They actually obtained it from the mother. When the body does not get sufficient amount of iron, the body becomes anaemic and symptoms of anaemia begin to occur. These symptoms include extreme tiredness, weakness and dizziness.
Other pregnant women tend to notice that they have become paler. The underside of their eyelids, lips and fingernails have become pale. Furthermore, symptoms such as heart palpitations, irritability, shortness of breath, trouble in concentrating, headache and rapid heartbeat tend to occur. Some research revealed that some women who have been diagnosed with severe iron deficiency tend to develop cravings for non-food substances such as clay, paper and ice.
4. What Causes Anemia in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are probably one of the most susceptible to anaemia. There are actually lots of reasons on why pregnant women are very likely to suffer from anaemia. Aside from their increased demand for iron, the lack of folic acid and Vitamin B12 also plays a vital role in the development of this condition.
Observing a diet which is low in iron can also contribute to the onset of this condition. Vegetarian women should make sure that their diet contains ample amount of iron to prevent anaemia. Loss of blood due to stomach ulcer and haemorrhoids can also be a contributing factor to anaemia. Women who have heavy menstrual flow prior to their pregnancy are also at a greater risk for anaemia.
Those who vomit frequently due to morning sickness are also prone to suffer from anaemia. Pregnant women who are carrying twins or triplets are very prone to suffer from anaemia due to their excessive demand for iron. Inherited blood disorders like sickle cell disease can also trigger the onset of anaemia.
5. What Can You Do To Prevent Anaemia during Pregnancy
Observing a healthy and fit diet is definitely one of the best measures to observe to prevent anaemia. Getting a good nutrition is one of the major keys in preventing anaemia. Diet should be composed of foods which are known to be rich in iron such as cereals, beef, spinach, dried fruits, eggs and wholemeal bread.
To maximize the absorption of iron, make sure to increase your intake of foods rich in Vitamin C. This mineral is best found in lime, oranges, lemon, raw vegetables, tomato juice, strawberries, grapefruit, bell peppers and potatoes.
While it is good to take Vitamin C with iron, make sure not to take your iron supplement with calcium or calcium-containing antacids. According to research, calcium plays a vital role in preventing the absorption of iron to your body. In this connection, make sure not to take your milk with your iron supplements. Furthermore, don’t take iron with teas and coffees. They contain polyphenols which hinder the absorption of iron to your body.
Get supplementation. Make sure that you and your baby gets the most nutrients. Folic acid plays a very important role in the baby’s growth and development aside from being a precursor to the production of red blood cells. In fact, folic acid helps in preventing the occurrence of spina bifida and other neural tube defects in babies. Muesli, beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beef and broccoli are excellent sources of folic acid.
6. Pregnancy and Anemia Medical Studies
The study concludes that in this part of Nigeria the rate of anaemia in pregnancy is higher than the average. It recommends preconception medical care, which includes both folic acid and are in supplements. Additionally early antenatal appointments and improved care are also recommended to improve the situation.
The World Health Organisation states the following:
The World Health Organisation have to find anaemia as being one of the world’s top causes of disability. This means it is provided most concerning global health issues. In terms of its prevalence during pregnancy, the differences that we see throughout the world are naturally linked to varied socio-economic conditions, health seeking behaviours that can be found in different cultures, as well as lifestyles.
When we compare developing countries to the developed world, we can see that anaemia affects more than half of the pregnancies in the developing countries at a rate currently of 52%, whereas in the developed world the rate comes in at 23%. Of course there is a range of obvious causes for this huge difference in rates, such as a lack of nutrition, Ireland deficiencies and other micro-nutrient deficiencies, HIV infections, malaria and other additional factors.
From region to region the causes of anaemia can vary, and generally these are somewhat documented. However consensus is needed to define further the cut-off points when it comes to the different levels of anaemia – mild, moderate or severe. This is necessary in order to be able to conduct studies which use properly defined laboratory values when carrying out research on anaemia and pregnancy.