Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnancy 

What Are the Solutions, Signs and Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnancy?

It is important to identify symptoms of anemia in pregnancy as one in two women in India suffer from anemia during pregnancy. 

A study by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) showed rising incidence of malnutrition-related diseases among women, as compared to men and children. While on one hand, obesity in women have increased by 34% over past three decades, in men it has risen by 27%, says the study. 

One of the effects of malnutrition in women is iron deficiency. It doesn’t just affect one in five of the world’s population but is also the most primary causes of anemia in pregnancy.

According to a study, this increases the risk of maternal mortality as well as the chances of delivering babies with low birth weight. Moreover, several studies suggest that iron deficiency also increases the risk of thyroid disorder as well as complications like miscarriages and pre-term births.  

Pregnant women need to make enough thyroid hormone for the full development of the brain of the fetus. This is critical during the first trim-semester when the fetus has not developed a thyroid gland of its own, said the paper. 

A diet low on nutrition and iron content is one of the major causes of anemia in pregnancy and it can make women susceptible to iron deficiency anemia and its detrimental effects. But how do you identify if a woman is having anemia during pregnancy? And how can you prevent that? Let us find answers to those questions in this article.  

Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnancy

The symptoms of anemia in pregnancy may be mistaken as regular symptoms of normal pregnancy as they are very similar. Some pregnant women are completely unaware they’re anemic until it’s conformed by blood test. 

Let’s look at the signs and symptoms of anemia in pregnancy: 

Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnancy 

How to Diagnose Anemia in Pregnancy? 

Anemia can be diagnosed through a complete blood count (CBC) test, which tabulates the number of various cells that make up the blood. If low RBC count is an indication of anemia. This test is standard during early pregnancy —first trimester and again anemia during pregnancy third trimester which is 28 weeks. 

Does Anemia in Pregnancy Affect the Baby? 

Even if you’ve been anemic throughout your pregnancy, it’s rare for a baby to have an iron deficiency too. Because the fetus takes all the iron he or she needs to thrive.  

However if anemia is left untreated, it can become severe, which may cause poor fetal growth, preterm birth or low birth weight as well as increasing your risk of needing a blood transfusion during delivery or having postpartum depression.  

The doctors usually check for the iron deficiency early in pregnancy and then checks again during the third trimester and effectively treat anemia before it causes a bigger problem. 

How and When to Treat Anemia in Pregnancy?

In most cases, the treatment for pregnancy-induced anemia is simple: More iron. Healthcare providers prescribe a daily iron supplement to take in addition to other prenatal vitamin.  

For maximum results, it is recommended that iron supplements should be consumed with a glass of orange juice (vitamin C helps boost iron absorption) or prune juice (which helps with the constipation, that one might get because of extra iron).

Also it is advisable to wait a while before drinking milk, since the calcium in dairy products can hinder iron absorption. In addition to iron supplements, the diet includes plenty of iron-rich foods, including 

  • Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, etc.) 
  • Dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins, figs) 
  • Beans 
  • Eggs (yolk) 
  • Meat (red meat, liver, etc.) 
  • Fortified cereals and grains 

NOTE: Iron supplements sometimes make nausea worse. If this is the case with you too, try the standard treatments for morning sickness, including eating smaller, more frequent meals (six snack-size meals instead of three big ones) and drinking plenty of water. 

Since treatment depends on the cause, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your particular needs. In the rare case your anemia is due to a vitamin deficiency or illness, you may require B12 or folic acid supplements or treatment of the underlying disease. 

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Mahesh Nule

Backed with a 13+ years in healthcare industry, Dr. Mahesh has an expertise spanning over domains of operations, health insurance (customer service, claims, networking) and quality assurance. Presently, he is making hospitalization and claims easy for thousands of Onsurity members.

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