Anemia in Pregnancy Manchester NH
Anemia in Pregnancy
Feeling tired, exhausted, fatigued, getting short of breath and experiencing dizzy spells can all be symptomatic of anemia. Anemia is defined as "a condition in which there is an abnormally low proportion of red corpuscles in the blood, treated by iron (Fe) supplements."
However, it may be difficult to assess if you are anemic or not, as many of the associated symptoms are symptoms typically associated with the state of pregnancy anyway. The blood count your doctor routinely checks will reflect the late stage of anemia. You may still be deficient in iron even though your blood count is reading as normal.
If you do think you are anemic, consult your doctor about checking the ferritin level in your blood. This particular type of test is more accurate in the measurement of iron stores in your tissues. If the test reveals a low ferritin level (less than 20), it may be indicative that your tissues are being deprived of iron. This can be tiring for the mother and unhealthy for the baby. Mothers who are anemic have a greater chance of delivering premature and/or low birth-weight babies.
On the other hand, the hemoglobin that your doctor measures may suggest you are anemic when, in fact, you are not. Due to the normal increase in fluid volume in your blood during pregnancy, "hemodilution" occurs, possibly showing lower values of hemoglobin than before you were pregnant. In The Pregnancy Book by William Sears, M.D., this is referred to as the "physiological anemia of pregnancy."
According to Sheila Kitzinger in her book The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, it is normal for hemoglobin levels to fall during pregnancy. In days gone by, iron was routinely prescribed during pregnancy, but it is now known that can be harmful. Moreso, if a woman's hemoglobin level does NOT fall during pregnancy, she increases her chances of delivering pre-term.
Women who do suffer from anemia during pregnancy are less able to deal with heavy bleeding at the time of birth and are more prone to infection. To compensate for this condition, be sure to incorporate more iron-rich foods, protein, B vitamins (most notably B12), and vitamin C. Additionally, speak with your doctor about taking the folic acid supplement. All of these nutrients are essential to your blood's ability to carry oxygen to all the tissues in your body.
Be sure to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor so he/she can determine the best course of action to make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible for you.
Aches & Pains of PregnancySigns & Symptoms of Pregnancy
References for this article: Kitzinger, Sheila, 1996. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited. Sears, William, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N., 1997. The Pregnancy Book: A Month-by-Month Guide. Boston. Little, Brown and Company.
Author: Ann Butenas
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