It is common for women to be affected by anemia in pregnancy. Even more, about one third of all pregnant women suffer from anemia during the third trimester. In the majority of the cases the cause of the problem is a folate or iron deficiency.
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy anemia
At the beginning there are no symptoms or these are nonspecific, such as fatigue, lightheadedness, weakness or dyspnea. Some other signs include pallor, and in case we are talking about severe anemia, you could also be affected by hypotension or tachycardia. These increase the chances of infections or preterm delivery.
When being faced with pregnancy anemia the diagnosis starts with CBC. The later tests are based on the MCV levels. In case you have microcytic anemia, you could be tested for iron deficiency. If there is no response to the treatments, you are advised to see a hematologist.
If you have macrocytic anemia then the evaluation of anemia in pregnancy is based on B12 levels and folate levels.
The main point of the treatment is to reverse the pregnancy anemia. In case the anemia is severe, you may need a transfusion. The decision is based on the kind of symptoms that you are experiencing and not on the levels of Hct.
About 95% of the situations leading to anemia in pregnancy are caused by an iron deficiency. Usually the problem is caused by insufficient iron intake, loss of iron through the menstruation blood or a previous pregnancy. All these could cause you not to have enough iron in your system and you will have to make up for that gap.
In case the pregnancy anemia is caused by iron deficiency, all you have to do is to take some ferrous sulfate supplements. You just have to take one tablet. If you take more, you could be faced with constipation and it could block the absorption of the next dose you take.
When it comes to anemia in pregnancy it is possible that the body of women doesn’t absorb iron if it is taken orally, and in this case you need parenteral therapy.
You may know that usually it is easier to prevent a problem than to treat it, and this is why it is a routine for pregnant women to take iron supplements.
As it has been mentioned before, folate deficiency could also lead to pregnancy anemia. If the problem persists, the little one could be affected by fetal alcohol syndrome or neural tube defects. The good news is that such problems are quite rare among pregnant women.
Treatment and prevention
When it comes to anemia in pregnancy most probably you will have CBC and if the tests indicate a folate deficiency then you will also have a serum test. If the folate levels turn out to be low, then the diagnosis is pretty obvious. To treat the problem, you just have to take some supplements and for sure your anemia will get better.