Anemia in Pregnancy - Overview
Anemia in pregnancy is reported in many women at some point of their pregnancy. This type of anemia is caused by iron deficiency. Iron is a mineral necessary for production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, the most significant part of erythrocytes (red blood cells) is engaged in process of oxygen binding and its transport to all body cells. Hemoglobin also binds carbon dioxide and makes sure it is transferred to the lungs.
Iron is necessary for both, a mother and her baby. This is why the fetus 'steals' mothers iron and use it or store it in the liver. As the pregnancy progresses the need for iron increases and a woman eventually develops anemia.
All pregnant women undergo regular blood tests during pregnancy. These tests can timely point to anemia and this way the treatment may start on time. Even though there are many food products rich in iron anemia in pregnancy is most commonly treated with certain supplements. Today many women are prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements from the beginning of their pregnancies. By taking these supplements iron deficiency and consequent anemia as well as other potential deficiencies are successfully prevented. The doctor will decide whether a woman is supposed to take vitamin and mineral supplements and which supplements is the most convenient.
Symptoms and Signs of Anemia in Pregnancy
As it has already been mentioned specific supplements can prevent anemia during pregnancy. Furthermore, the problem can be timely diagnosed due to regular blood tests. In some cases the condition develops quickly. A woman may complain about fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness and mild breathing difficulties with exertion. In anemia the skin and visible mucous membranes are pale and in case of severe form of the disease a woman may develop tachycardia and hypotension. It is essential to recognize symptoms and signs of anemia during pregnancy and initiate the treatment as soon as possible because this condition carries a risk of preterm delivery and postpartum maternal infections.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Anemia during Pregnancy
The easiest way to check whether a pregnant woman is suffering from anemia is to take blood samples. By measuring the number of red blood cells and evaluation of other parameters such as level of hemoglobin and hematocrit a doctor can set the final diagnosis.
The goal of treatment is to obtain optimal levels of iron in the body. Treatment with specific supplements result with proper amount of hemoglobin and optimal number of red blood cells in both, a mother and her baby. The doctor chooses the most suitable iron supplement and many times a woman must take it until the end of her pregnancy.