The aim of this article is to educate and create awareness about anemia in pregnancy and its effects.
According to WHO, hemoglobin less than 11 grams is called anemia. If it is less than 10 grams it is moderate, if less than 7 grams is severe and less than 4 grams it is a very severe grade of anemia. Hemoglobin is made up of two components heme and globin. Iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 are required for heme production. So, any of these deficiency will lead to anemia.
The most common cause is iron-deficiency anemia and which can be prevented and cured. It is mostly seen in the lower socio-economic groups. But now, in the modern days, we are seeing iron deficiency anemia even in higher socio-economic groups. Anemia is caused due to improper eating habits, wrong eating habits, excessive consumption of coffee and tea which hinder the absorption of iron and not paying attention to excessive blood loss during menstruation.
Usually severe and very severe anemia gives only symptoms such as easy fatigue, dizziness, breathlessness and palpitations. Severe anemia will affect the expectant mother due to spontaneous abortion, recurrent infections, premature labor, high blood loss during delivery, shock and is one of the causes of maternal death.
Severe anemia will affect the baby in the form of growth retardation, congenital anomalies, fetal anemia and stillbirth. Mild to moderate grades are usually asymptomatic but can progress to severe grades if left untreated. prevention is better than cure. Pregnant women should consume iron-rich food like dates, green leafy vegetables, jaggery, pomegranate, meat, egg and fish.
Usually we treat anemia with oral iron preparations. Injectable iron preparations are used in moderate grades near delivery, and if there is no response with oral iron therapy. Usually very severe anemia and a blood transfusion are needed during delivery.
Therefore, in order to have a healthy mother and a healthy baby, expectant mothers should undergo pre-pregnancy consultations, health check-ups and regular prenatal check-ups.
Dr. Sura Pushpalatha
Senior Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynecology
Birthright of Rainbow Hospitals – Sholinganallur, Chennai