Anemia in Pregnancy | Symptoms, Causes & More

Anemia in Pregnancy – This has caused much harm in the life event of a pregnant woman. It is the reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

It is the reduction in the quantity and quality of red blood cells and hemoglobin levels. Anemia is a common complication in pregnancy in the tropics. It is usually the major cause of maternal and fetal mortality in Africa and Asia.

Anemia is a reduction below average in the number of red blood cells. The quality of the hemoglobin and the volume of the parked cell per 100ml of blood.

Sometimes, these values are considered reduced during pregnancy. And the condition of anemia in pregnancy results.

Moreover, anemia in pregnancy may be due to a deficiency of iron or folic acid or a deficiency in both nutrients. Folic acid deficiency is the most important cause of anemia in pregnancy.

This has resulted in the death of most pregnant women who experience a shortage of blood without having enough diet to cope.

What you Should know About Anemia In Pregnancy

It is a condition in pregnancy in which the hemoglobin level is less than 11g/dl and packed cell volume is less than 33%. Thus, it is a common cause of maternal mortality. There are two types of anemia in pregnancy;

  • Physiological Anemia in Pregnancy: After conception maternal blood makes effort to compensate for the blood used inside the uterus by the fetus. Thereby, causing an increase in the plasma volume of the maternal blood which gradually increases by 50%. This usually occurs in the 2nd trimester.

Also, there is an increase in red blood cells towards the later part of pregnancy to about 25%. These result in hemodilution, which is an increase in the blood in proportion to the cells. Hence, this causes a fall in hemoglobin concentration.

These physiological changes are not pathological but are necessary for the development of the fetus in pregnancy.

  • Nutritional or Pathological Anemia in pregnancy: Approximately 150mg of iron is essential to increase maternal hemoglobin. The fetus and placenta replacement of daily loss through stools, urine, and skin replacement of blood loss at delivery. About 95% of pregnant women with anemia have the iron deficiency type.

Diagnosis of Anemia

However, in malaria-endemic areas of the tropics, the young, short, woman who is more prone to malaria runs a greater risk of developing folic acid deficiency anemia in pregnancy than the multipara.

Iron deficiency anemia seems to follow a different pattern, being more common with increasing parity.

Anemia in west Africa would be; seldom diagnosed before 16 weeks or 18 weeks of pregnancy. A majority of cases of anemia that seen occur between 24-28 weeks of gestation.

Next in frequency is occurrence in the period of between 29-32 weeks; more than 75% of cases occur between 24-32 weeks.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Simple laboratory investigation by taking blood specimens to determine hemoglobin and packed cell volume.
  • Additionally, the Use of the Dahlquist paper method is grossly inaccurate and should be employed only in the absence of another better and more accurate way.
  • Palpitation
  • Tachycardia
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cold feet

Causes of Anemia in Pregnancy

  • However, reduced intake or absorption of iron results from iron deficiency in diet and gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Withdrawal of by fetus.
  • Folic acid deficiency resulting from hemolysis, malaria, and inadequate intake of folic acid.
  • More so, excess demand due to multiple pregnancies, multiple inflammatory diseases especially urinary tract infections.
  • Hemorrhage.
  • Lack of red blood cell production.
Effects of Anemia on mother

Thus, they include;

  • Low immunity
  • Risk of embolism
  • Heart failure
  • However, Chronic ill health results from untreated or inadequate anemia especially if the mother is a victim of successive and frequent pregnancies.

Effects of Anemia on the fetus

Consequently, when a child still receives nutrients from the mother’s placenta, they get all the requirements in there. But, when the mother no longer takes food that nourishes the baby, the baby might die.

It is important, however, that mother eats more food rich in iron, vitamin, and other macro element because any deficiency in their iron severely affects the baby.

Thus, the risk factors include;

  • Risk of early abortion
  • Premature birth
  • Intrauterine death

Treatment of Anemia in Pregnancy

Thus, this is preventable. It is actually achieved by referring all cases at risk such as the following women to the appropriate treatment facility as early as possible and health educating all women on adequate eating of locally available diets;

  • Eating foods rich in diet
  • Iron deficiency anemia would be prevented by eating food rich in iron
  • Transfusion of red blood cell
  • Vitamins would be of help
  • Iron supplementary is also good

Sickle Cell Anemia

As a result, in sickle cell, some red blood cells look like sickle used to cut wheat. These unusual shape cells give the disease its name. It affects the red blood cells, which carries oxygen to all part of the body. Additionally; they are found most especially in people of Africa.

Sickle Cell Anemia; have an increased fragility and shortened lifespan of 17 days. However, this results in hemolytic chronic anemia and causes pain. Women, who are allergic to the sickle cell would be fertile but some organs may be damaged.

Signs and Symptoms

Thus, once a woman has noticed the presence of sickle cell in their body. they start feeling some unusual signs that characterized the presence of this disease. Hence, they include;

  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal tension
  • Abdominal pain

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