LivingAnemia in pregnancy: what are the symptoms and how...

Anemia in pregnancy: what are the symptoms and how to keep it at bay

Iron deficiency anemia is a common disorder during pregnancy. It occurs because of the increased volume of blood plasma and the decreased ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen or iron. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein present in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to other cells.

This, let’s call it “overwork” of the red blood cells, causes a decrease in the levels of hemoglobin, albumin and water-soluble vitamins, leading to anemia of pregnancy or physiological anemia of pregnancy .

90% of the anemias that occur in pregnancy are iron deficiency anemia, that is, due to a lack of iron . It is normal for there to be a decrease in iron in red blood cells, but if the anemia worsens it can lead to serious complications in pregnancy.

A pregnant woman with anemia is more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, some type of infection or postpartum hemorrhage, while babies are more likely to be born prematurely, to have less than normal growth and to be born with low weight.

Symptoms of anemia in pregnant women

Anemia is usually detected by a blood test, but there are certain symptoms to watch for if you are pregnant.

An anemic person has pale skin, lips, nails, palms of the hands or the lower part of the eyelids, feels tired, apathetic, without wanting to take care of himself or illusion about his situation, with the risk of also feeling disinterest for the care of the baby.

You may experience fatigue, vertigo, or dizziness, as well as shortness of breath and a fast heartbeat. They are somewhat confusing symptoms, which can well be understood as a pregnancy discomfort or a sign of stress, therefore if you feel identified with the symptoms you should discuss it with your doctor to confirm it through a blood test.

Iron supplement, yes or no?

In the blood tests that you will perform in the prenatal controls each trimester, the mother’s state of anemia is controlled. Hemoglobin, the concentration of this protein in the blood, and the hematocrit, the percentage of the total volume of the blood made up of red blood cells, are measured.

When the hemoglobin concentration falls below 11 g / dl, it is considered that an iron supplement should be given to complement the pregnant woman’s diet, although opinions on this are varied.

The mother’s blood volume increases and a phenomenon known as physiological hemodilution occurs, that is, the blood is more diluted, which reduces the hematocrit value by 3 to 5 units. Naturally, hemoglobin values go down although in reality what happens is that you have more hemoglobin than before you got pregnant but in a lower concentration.

For this reason, there are those who consider that an iron supplement is not necessary , that it is enough to eat a varied diet including foods that provide iron and that it is also not recommended as it increases the risk of premature birth and low weight. Always consult your doctor who will indicate the best in your case.

Anemia and multiple pregnancies

The increase in blood plasma volume of a pregnant mother with a single baby is 50 percent. With two or more babies, the blood volume is even higher. 75 percent higher in twins and almost 90 percent in triplets, so the risk of anemia also increases significantly.

How to keep anemia at bay

To prevent anemia, it is recommended to eat a varied diet that includes foods rich in iron to ensure that the body has the necessary iron reserves to provide enough oxygen for the baby.

Among the foods that provide iron we find fish and shellfish, green leafy vegetables (chard, spinach, watercress, parsley, etc.), meats (veal, duck, quail), dairy products and nuts. It is also advisable to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamin C , which facilitate the absorption of iron, and avoid the consumption of absorption inhibiting foods such as coffee, tea and carbonated drinks.

During pregnancy, a dose of 30 mg daily of iron is recommended , which is more than 30 percent of the usually indicated dose.

Photo | drobotdean – and jcomp –

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