The blood in our body is made up of a combination of iron & protein called hemoglobin. Blood is made and destroyed in our body every three months which needs a
During pregnancy you’ll get to
experience many weird and wonderful sensations and changes to the way your body
works. Some of them can be good, and some of them will be not so good.
While every woman is different and will
experience pregnancy slightly differently, it’s always a good idea to be aware
of the different complications and changes that can occur and how they might
impact you and your health negatively.
Being aware of the different symptoms
and conditions means you’ll know what to look out for and when you need to
speak to your doctor for further tests and support.
One of the conditions that can arise
during pregnancy that you need to look out for is anemia.
What is anemia?
The red blood cells in our body are made
up of a combination of iron & protein called hemoglobin. Blood is made and
destroyed in our body every three months. We need a constant supply of iron in
our body so that it can continue to produce hemoglobin and keep us healthy,
strong and able to function properly as our body goes through this process of
destroying old blood and producing new blood.
Blood is made in the spine and destroyed
by the spleen. Normal hemoglobin (Hb) levels in non-pregnant women is 12-14mg/dl
, whereas the normal values of Hb in pregnant women is 12-16mg/dl. This is
because the Hb requirement increases during pregnancy while you try and grow a
Anemia - otherwise known as iron
deficiency - occurs when there is not enough iron in your body, making it
difficult for your body to produce enough healthy red blood cells.
When your Hb count drops below 10mg/dl,
this is when you are usually at risk of suffering from anemia.
What are the different types of anemia?
There are three main types of anemia,
defined by what their primary cause is. These are:
1) Iron Deficiency Anemia
As described above, this is when your
body is lacking in iron and therefore unable to produce enough healthy red
2) Folate Deficiency Anemia
Much like with iron deficiency anemia,
folate deficiency anemia is caused by a lack of folate in your body. Otherwise
known as folic acid, folate is a type of vitamin b and is crucial for helping
your baby develop in the womb normally.
3) Sickle Cell Anemia
Unlike the other two forms of anemia,
sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition and is not related to a lack of
nutrients in your body. In this case, your blood cells are deformed and unable
to carry enough oxygen around your body. This form of anemia has no cure but
treatments are available.
How does anemia affect me during pregnancy?
If left untreated, anemia can have a
significant impact on your health, and the health of your baby.
As mentioned above, in the case of
folate deficiency anemia, folate is essential to ensure the healthy development
of your baby including:
Reduction in the growth of your
Increased risk of premature
Birth defects or mutations of
the baby during development
Higher chance of miscarriage
A mild iron deficiency shouldn’t have
too much of an impact on you and your baby but you might experience symptoms
Fatigue, even after a good
Low mood and irritability
Increase risk of urinary tract
As you can tell, these are pretty normal
symptoms of being pregnant anyway! If you do find yourself experiencing these
more frequently, or it’s becoming a problem in you being able to carry out your
daily tasks, make sure you speak with your doctor who can test your levels and
provide further advice.
How can I prevent anemia during pregnancy?
For iron and folate deficiency anemia,
the key really is to make sure you’re eating a healthy iron rich diet, and
foods that contain your daily recommended intake of folic acid.
Speak with your midwife who’ll be able
to help you with dietary tips and advice. You might also be able to take a
natural supplement if you’re really concerned, or have experienced periods of
anemia in the past.
If you suffer from sickle cell anemia,
you will likely already be on medication and a treatment plan. It’s really
important to speak and work with your doctor and midwife during your pregnancy
so that you can make sure you’re getting the best support you need during this
A Summary of Anemia in Pregnancy
Type of anemia
Iron deficiency anemia
early birth(preterm baby)
Take iron supplements
Folate deficiency anemia
Decreased folic acid
Brain & spine defects
Take folic acid supplements
Sickle cell anemia
Abnormal blood cells
Increased urinary infections
Take folic acid
Monitor baby growth
Avoid decreased Oxygen conditions e.g. infections, height etc.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.