Anemia Pregnancy: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Anemia refers to a blood condition that tends to develop when an individual does not have adequate red blood cells or does not have enough hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen around the body. Also, anemia pregnancy is quite a common problem in pregnant women. During pregnancy, the human body produces more blood to support the baby’s growth. However, suppose you are not getting an adequate quantity of iron and nutrients. In that case, the body will not be able to produce sufficient red blood cells that are essential for the formation of the additional blood.

At mild pregnancy levels, anemia tends to be normal. But severe anemia due to a lack of iron or vitamin level poses a risk to the health of individuals, especially among pregnant women. Anemia can leave pregnant women feeling weak and tired, and if neglected, it leads to severe complications such as preterm delivery. Hence, it is important to take adequate supplements such as iron and vitamins during pregnancy. If you want to know more about anemia during pregnancy, its types, causes, and symptoms. Then you need to follow this article.

Types of Anemia

Anemia pregnancy can be of several types. They are as follows:

Iron deficiency anemia

This type of anemia occurs when the body does not have enough iron to produce an adequate amount of hemoglobin. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. In the case of iron deficiency anemia, the blood cannot carry enough oxygen to the tissues throughout the body. It is the most common type of anemia pregnancy.

Folate deficiency anemia

Folate is a vitamin found naturally in certain foods such as leafy vegetables. It is a type of vitamin B. The human body requires folate to produce new cells, including red blood cells. During the pregnancy period, they need extra folate. However, in numerous cases, due to a folate deficiency, the body cannot produce enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to the tissue throughout the body. Folate deficiency anemia during pregnancy can lead to certain types of birth defects such as neural tube abnormalities, low weight of the baby at birth, etc.

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

Another type of anemia pregnancy that most pregnant women suffer from is vitamin B12 deficiency. The human body requires vitamin B12 to efficiently form healthy red blood cells. During pregnancy, when a woman does not get adequate vitamin B12 in their diet, then it leads to inefficient production of red blood cells. The sources of vitamin B12 include poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Pregnant women whose diets do not include these foods have a greater risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Vitamin B12 anemia can lead to complications such as preterm labor.

Also Read: Foods To Treat Anemia

Causes of Anemia

The causes of anemia during pregnancy are not one but many. The major causes of anemia pregnancy include the following:

Iron deficiency

During pregnancy, the fetus uses the mother’s red blood cells for development and growth, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. If your body has extra red blood cells stored in the bone marrow, your body can use those stored red blood cells during pregnancy. Women who do not have enough stored iron in the body suffer from iron deficiency anemia, which is the most common type of anemia during pregnancy. Therefore before getting pregnant, it is imperative to consume nutrient-rich food.

Folate deficiency

Folic acid, a type of vitamin B, works in coherence with iron to contribute to cell growth. Not consuming enough folate-rich food during pregnancy can result in iron deficiency leading to anemia.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Another major cause of anemia during pregnancy is vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of protein and red blood cells. Consuming animal-based food products such as meats, milk, eggs, etc. can prevent the deficiency, thereby saving you from anemia during pregnancy.

Related: Why Folic Acid is Crucial during Pregnancy?

Symptoms of Anemia

In the early stages, it becomes difficult to realize the symptoms of anemia pregnancy. Some of the symptoms are often confused with the usual pregnancy symptoms. In numerous cases, pregnant women remain unaware that they are anemic until it is revealed through the blood test. Thus, below are the symptoms of anemia pregnancy, and you can check these symptoms and know if you are also suffering from anemia pregnancy. Hence, if you are experiencing any of the below-mentioned symptoms, then you are suffering from anemia, and you need to consult your doctor.

  • Excessive weakness and tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Pale skin, lips, and nails
  • The common symptom of anemia pregnancy include the trouble concentrating
  • Numbness or cold feeling in your hands and feet
  • Irritability
  • Low body temperature

Treatment of Anemia

The treatment of anemia pregnancy involves the intake of certain foods along with supplements such as iron or folic acid supplement in addition to the prenatal vitamins you are taking. Similarly, you need to incorporate more foods in your diet that are high in iron and folic acids, such as eggs, seeds, nuts, iron-enriched grains and cereals, broccoli, kale, spinach, lean red meat, fish, etc.

Also check: Pregnancy and Nutrition

Thus, anemia during pregnancy is a major health problem that every pregnant woman is prone to experience during their pregnancy. Above, we have discussed what are the types of anemia pregnancy, causes, symptoms, and treatment. Thus, if you are a pregnant woman and experiencing any symptoms, you need to consult your doctor. And to stay healthy during pregnancy and avoid the problem of anemia, you can prefer to eat food rich in iron and folic acid.

Written by Jagannadh Ch