Anemia during Pregnancy

The chances of Anemia increases by 50% during pregnancy and is common in most women. Due to low blood cells in your body, the oxygen supply gets affected causing abnormal functioning of many body parts. It is a condition when a person lacks a sufficient amount of blood in the body. It is a type of disorder which causes a deficiency of iron in the body and several blood-related diseases. Pregnant women are at high risk of getting this problem.

Will it affect my baby?

Especially in the first and second trimester, it may cause low birth weight in the baby however mild Anemia will not affect the baby unless it is severe. It may increase the risk of stillbirth resulting in the death of the newborn.

Causes

It mostly happens during the second trimester where the hemoglobin level falls due to the expansion of plasma volume causing such a condition. Other reasons for it include lack of iron in the diet, heavy bleeding due to menstruation or blood donation.

Types

There are almost 400 types of Anemia, but some common ones include:

  • Iron-deficiency Anemia: Approximately 15-25% of pregnancies suffer from this type of Anemia and is most common in a woman from the U.S. due to the deficiency of iron in the body. A woman becomes a victim of fatigue and has a high risk of infections.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency Anemia: Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrition in a pregnant woman’s diet which is found missing and may lead to less production of RBC causing Anemia.
  • Folate-deficiency Anemia: Folate also known as folic acid prevents neural tube defects in a pregnant woman. The deficiency of folic acid in your acid reduces the number of red blood cells (RBC) thereby causing Anemia.

Symptoms

  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Wanting to eat dirt or clay
  • Cold feet and hands
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale complexion
  • Irritability
  • Leg cramps
  • Pale Lips
  • Cracks in the corner of your mouth
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Fast heartbeat

Diagnosis

After examining the medical history of your family, the doctor will then ask for some blood tests. One of the blood tests is CBC which measures the total percentage of RBC in your blood and the amount of hemoglobin into that red blood cells (RBC). Othe tests may include:

  • Peripheral blood smear
  • Serum ferritin index

Recommended Diet

Foods containing Iron

  • Eggs
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Lentils, beans, pulses, red meat, lean and poultry
  • Tofu
  • Chicken liver

Foods rich in vitamin C

  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers

Complications

Maternal Complications

  • Postpartum Depression
  • Anemia
  • Preterm Labor
  • Low birth weight
  • Delay in the development

Risk factors

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Deficiency of iron in the body
  • Heavy periods before becoming pregnant
  • Vomiting often in the morning
  • A short gap between pregnancies
  • Pregnant under age 20
  • Had several gastric bypass surgeries
  • Having any stomach disease
  • A diet lacking vitamin C
  • Eating foods that reduce iron absorption like coffee, tea, and other dairy products.

Prevention

  • Take proper nutrition: A diet rich in iron and vitamin C fulfills the essential requirement of nutrient in your body preventing this condition.
  • Prenatal vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are rich in iron and folic acid supplements which increases the production of RBC in your blood.
  • Taking iron supplements: A pregnant woman needs 27 milligrams of iron daily which is healthy for her. Avoid eating dairy products, coffee or tea as they make you weak and lack vital nutrients.

Treatment

By taking iron supplements such as sulfate tablets (300 mg), vitamins, and folic acid supplements to suspect folate deficiency you can quickly treat it during pregnancy. If it gets severe, the doctor may suggest a blood transfusion to cure the situation at the earliest. Take citrus fruit juices pills to help in iron absorption besides hampering it. Practice mild exercises and prenatal yoga to manage the symptoms along with eating fresh fruits, vegetables and fruit juice every day.

Managing Severe Anemia

Severe Anemia needs bed rest with a properly balanced diet in addition to vital nutritional supplements. If one lacks Iron despite taking a proper diet and oral supplements, it may lead to hospitalization needing the blood transfusion for treating its genetic forms.

Side-effects of the Iron Supplements

  • Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Black and dark green stool

Take a low dosage of the tablets with food to avoid the side-effects.

Anemia during Pregnancy Incidence

It affects around one-third of all women in the Third Trimester according to the Incidence statistics.

ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes

ICD-9 code is 280-285

ICD-10 code is D50-D64 

References

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