- by Dr Sahana K P
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- Aug 22 2017
Anemia in pregnancy
If you’re so exhausted that you often have trouble inclined to your daily life, anemia may be responsible. Anemia — a disorder commonly caused by an iron deficiency — occurs when you either have insufficient red blood cells than is normal or your red blood cells do not contain adequate hemoglobin (the protein that transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body). Without enough, it’s difficult to send oxygen all through your body. Pregnancy-influenced anemia is very common, mainly in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters; with a few small nutritional modifications, you can still have a healthy pregnancy.
The normal range for hemoglobin is: For men, 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter. For women, 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter.
When you're pregnant, the capacity of blood in your body increases by almost fifty percent to sustain both you and your growing baby. This, in turn, reduces your bloods’ hemoglobin mass. Since your body requires iron to make hemoglobin, without adequate iron stores, red blood-cell production slows, along with their energy-enhancing oxygen supply. The outcome? One exhausted mama-to-be.
While in most instances anemia is caused by inadequate iron in your diet before and/or during your pregnancy, less frequently it could be caused by a vitamin deficiency -B12 or folic acid, loss of blood, an underlying disorder like an immune disorder, kidney disease or sickle cell anemia — which is why it’s so critical to see your doctor to get to the base of the problem.
Early on, you may misunderstand symptoms of anemia for normal symptoms of pregnancy; some pregnant women are totally ignorant they're anemic until it's disclosed in a blood test. But as the condition advances, one may experience:
Shortness of breath
A fast or irregular heartbeat
A low body temperature
An insensible or cold feeling in your hands and feet
If you’re encountering any of these signs and are worried it might be anemia, be sure to let your doctor know.
How anemia is diagnosed:
Your doctor will execute a complete blood count (CBC), which classifies the number of different cells that make up your blood. If the count of your red blood cell is scanty, your doctor will detect you with anemia. This test is guideline early in your pregnancy — usually at your first prenatal appointment, as part of your early pregnancy bloodwork — and again later in your pregnancy, usually around twenty eight weeks.
Even if you've been anemic all through your pregnancy, it's very unusual for a baby to have an iron deficiency too. Why? The unborn baby takes all the iron he or she requires to thrive well first. However if anemia is not treated, it can become serious, causing poor fetal development, preterm birth or low birth weight as well as increases your risk of a blood transfusion during delivery or having postnatal depression. But since your doctor checks early in your pregnancy (and then checks again during the 3rd trimester), as long as you keep up with your prenatal care she’ll determine and effectiently treat anemia before it causes a bigger problem.
In most cases, the treatment for anemia during pregnancy is basic: More iron. Your doctor may prescribe a daily iron supplement to take in along with your prenatal vitamin. Take both (only with your doctor’s advice and never take the prenatal and iron supplement at the same time) to be sure that you're getting all your daily nutrients. For utmost results, take them with a glass of orange juice (vitamin C helps enhance iron absorption) or prune juice (which helps with the unavoidable constipation additional iron brings with it). Also wait a while before you sip a glass of milk, since the calcium in milk products can hamper iron absorption; keep away coffee and tea when you take your supplement for the same reason. And along with taking your supplementation, be sure your diet includes enough of iron-rich foods, including kale, spinach, beef and edamame
Be well informed, too, that iron supplements can make nausea severe. If this is the case try the usual treatments for morning sickness, including eating smaller, more recurrent meals (6 snack-size meals instead of 3 big ones) and drinking plentiful of water.
Since treatment depends on the cause, it’s crucial to talk with your physician about your particular needs. In the rare instances your anemia is because of vitamin insufficiency or sickness, you may require B12 or folic acid supplements or treatment of the underlying disease.
Prevention of anemia:
While not all cases of anemia are avoidable, getting adequate iron in your diet goes a long way in helping you to avoid the disorder. Before you are pregnant, that means consuming 18 mg of iron every day; once you do conceive you should aim for 27 mg. Though during pregnancy vitamin covers your basis — together with your necessity for other crucial nutrients like folic acid and vitamin B12 — you should also try to eat a variety of healthy foods that are rich in iron.
Cooking in cast iron utensil may also help give your iron intake a little enhancement, since foods soak some of the iron from the pan. Also note that better than plant-based iron, animal-based (meat) iron is absorbed by the body.
Though anemia during pregnancy can be frightening, rest assured it’s also easily detected and treated.
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