Anemia is common in pregnancy. When pregnant woman develops anemia, the amount of healthy red blood cells are not suffice to carry oxygen to all the organs, including to the baby.
There are several types of anemia that can develop during pregnancy time, which are vitamin B 12 deficiency, folate-deficiency anemia and iron-deficiency anemia. When a pregnant woman doesn’t consume enough vitamin B 12, folate acid and iron throughout her pregnancy, then anemia may develop.
During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood volume so the red blood cells become relatively lower. In addition, a reduced food intake due to nausea and vomiting will also increase the risk of anaemia during pregnancy.
Anemia in pregnancy is considered if a pregnant woman develops hemoglobin level of below 11 g/dL on the first trimester of pregnancy and in second and hemoglobin level of below 10 g/dL on the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Influence of anaemia in pregnancy depends on the degree of anaemia.
If the hemoglobin level is below 11 g/dL, pregnant women will feel tired quickly, dizzy, weak, shortness of breath and even the heart function disorder can occurs. On a regular basis, usually the level of hemoglobin need to be checked during pregnancy period, thus if anemia in pregnancy is detected, the initial therapy to prevent any complication is warranted.
Severe anemia if left untreated, may cause fatal complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, postpartum bleeding, low birth weight baby and congenital defects.
To prevent the occurrence of anemia, doctor usually gives iron and folic acid supplements during pregnancy and encourage to eat foods that are rich in iron and folic acid such as meat, poultry, dairy products and vegetables. In case of severe anemia, blood transfusion maybe considered if necessary.
Source: website of Indonesian Society of Clinical Nutrition Specialist Doctor (PDGMI)