Iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy

Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Pregnancy Iron deficiency creates low haemoglobin level in the blood. This condition is commonin developing countries among childbearing women. When one is pregnant, iron requirements get significantly high. Iron is vital for production of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells which transports oxygen. During pregnancy, blood in the body increases over 50 percent. Haemoglobin is needed for the production of additional blood (Viteri 42).
Many pregnant women do not have enough iron to meet the increasing demands in their bodies, especially in second and third trimesters, which may cause to anaemia. When morning sickness becomes severe, such that it causes vomiting, the risks of anaemia become higher. The risk of anaemia for the expected mother becomes increasingly high if she has two or more pregnancies closely separated in time or poor iron diet and heavy menstrual flow before the pregnancy (Viteri 73).
Signs of iron deficiency include tiredness, irritation, palpitations and lack of motivation. The skin may appear pale. The eyelids, lips and fingernails may also appear white. This occurs because blood vessels have less red blood cells flowing through them. As the iron deficiency progresses one might experience shortness of breath. Many pregnant women assume shortness of breath to be normal pregnancy symptom. One should not rule out the possibility of anaemia. Baby Centre in the Medical Advisory Board infers that there is a connection between a condition called Pica and iron deficiency. Pica condition occurs when one lacks iron and craves for non food-substances, such as paper, clay or paint (Earl, Woteki, and Calloway 57). When a pregnant woman has these cravings, she should not eat them but consult a care provider. Pica can be a result of physical or psychological problems. When anaemia is at an advanced stage, one may experience headache and migraines.
An iron deficient pregnant woman has greater risk of death when her baby is at prenatal period. It is estimated that 500, 000 deaths occur each year due to this. She has shorter pregnancy than non-anaemic pregnant woman. The chances of having pre-term delivery are high. The infant has low birth weight because of the condition of the mother. Delivery endurance and physical effort of anaemic women may be low due to these complications (Somer 202). During lactation, anaemic womans breast milk will not contain enough iron for the infant. In some cases, iron-deficient women may give birth to infant with mild iron deficiency. This is because the infant had fewer iron reserves.
In conclusion, one can avoid iron deficiency during pregnancy by taking a balanced diet. One should talk to a doctor when planning a pregnancy to get advice on food and supplements before the pregnancy. Iron can be acquired from bread, beef, eggs, dried fruit, spinach and cereals. During pregnancy one should take iron supplements, a diet rich in vitamins, iron and folic acid. For maximum absorption of iron from food one should eat fruit rich in vitamin C after the meal. One should take note of iron deficiency signs and consult a doctor in cases of alarming signs. Folic acid has been recommended to women planning pregnancy before conception and to pregnant women during the first twelve weeks. Folic acid reduces the risk of foetus developing spinal cord defects (Somer 178).
Works Cited
Earl, Robert., Woteki, Catherine and Doris Calloway. Iron Deficiency Anemia: Recommended Guidelines for the Prevention, Detection, and Management among U. S. Children and Women of Childbearing Age. United States: National Academies Press, 1993. Print.
Somer, Elizabeth. Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy, Revised Edition: The Complete Guide to Eating Before, During, and After Your Pregnancy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002. Print.
Viteri, Fernando. “ The Consequences of Iron Deficiency and Anaemia in Pregnancy.” In Nutrient Regulation During Pregnancy, Lactation and Infant Growth. New York: Plenum Press, 1994. Print.