Anemia during pregnancy affect the mother and baby?

During pregnancy, the mother’s red blood cell count increases significantly. If the mother’s diet lacks hematopoietic factors, the mother is very vulnerable to anemia. This can increase the risk of premature birth, increased morbidity, congenital injury, and even death of the mother and baby. So the causes, signs and how to prevent anemia in pregnant women, let’s find out!

1. Anemia in pregnant women

According to the World Health Organization, about 30% of the world’s population is anemic, mainly iron-deficiency anemia. Women and children are the most common types of anemia. Anemia in pregnant women is an important public health problem in many countries. A survey by the National Institute of Nutrition shows that 36.8% of pregnant women in Vietnam are anemic during pregnancy.

Anemia in pregnant women often presents with fatigue, hair loss, fingernails and toenails, and pale mucous membranes of the mouth and lips, severe cases of blue-white face, mild edema, loss of strength, tinnitus head, heart panic, shortness of breath, poor appetite, bloating, flatulence disorder when apples are loose

Pregnant women are considered to have anemia during pregnancy when the hemoglobin (Hb) content in the blood is low <11g / dl.

There are many possible causes of anemia but the most common pregnancy is iron deficiency anemia. This is when the body does not have enough iron needed to make Hemoglobin – an important protein of red blood cells.

Anemia in pregnant women not only adversely affects pregnant women but also causes many negative consequences for children later. It is therefore important to maintain hemoglobin within the normal range.

2. What causes anemia during pregnancy? 

The main cause of anemia and micronutrient deficiency in pregnant women is due to insufficient dietary intake. City Nutrition Center In Ho Chi Minh City, the study found that the amount of iron and folic acid in the diet of many pregnant women only reached about 40% of the recommended need. In addition, there are several causes of anemia during pregnancy, such as:

  • The concentration of hemoglobin in the mother’s blood can decrease very suddenly due to the baby’s growing needs.
  • An increase in blood volume during pregnancy also causes anemia because the hemoglobin concentration decreases due to dilution compared to normal.
  • Low iron diet. A strict diet, or just eating low-energy foods, can lead to anemia-related problems.
  • Low weight pregnant women at the beginning of pregnancy or heavy pregnant women are at higher risk of anemia than other pregnant women.
  • Types of blood loss such as threatened miscarriage, prenatal bleeding or other types of hemorrhage can all be the cause of anemia.
  • The risk of anemia is higher if you are pregnant with multiple babies.
  • The amount of time iron stores to replenish reserves will not be sufficient if this pregnancy is too close to the previous miscarriage.
  • Chronic conditions related to blood are also causes of anemia.

3. Effects on pregnant women

Anemia in pregnant women causes lack of oxygen in organizations, especially in some organs such as the heart, brain … can cause serious consequences for mothers and children.

Mothers: Miscarriage, placenta praevia, placental abruption, pregnancy hypertension, pre-eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, postpartum haemorrhage, postpartum infection.

For children: Low birth weight, preterm birth, fetal failure, prolonged resuscitation treatment period, more susceptible to neonatal disease than children without anemia. Children of mothers who are anemic in the early stages of pregnancy have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than other children.

Therefore, doctors have considered anemia and iron deficiency during pregnancy as an obstetric threat.

4. Effects on the fetus 

Babies born to pregnant anemia mothers are also more susceptible to anemia, low birth weight, premature birth, and fetal insufficiency, which is more likely to develop neonatal diseases than normal. Iron-deficiency anemia can have a long-lasting effect on brain development and its consequences may further impair a child’s learning ability due to a defect in myelin formation due to a deficiency. Iron. Babies of pregnant anemic mothers in early pregnancy have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than other children in adulthood.

With mild anemia, there will be nothing dangerous for both mother and baby, only uncomfortable in the problem of pregnant women anemia a bit dizzy, but for pregnant women with severe anemia, there are many special risks. For both mother and baby such as: Increased risk of miscarriage, placenta praevia, premature placenta, pregnancy blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, risk of postpartum haemorrhage, postpartum infection. In addition, the problem of postpartum haemorrhage will pose a serious threat to the life of anemic pregnant mother.

While in the mother’s womb, the fetal body began to store iron so that after birth it formed hemoglobin. The amount of iron stored in normal babies is 250 – 300mg, this is enough for the needs of hematopoiesis 3-4 months after birth. If insufficient iron reserves (due to premature birth, twins, due to pregnancy anemia mother) are prone to develop iron-deficiency anemia in infants. Moreover, after birth, breast milk is the only source of iron. Although breast milk is low in iron, it is completely absorbed by the baby’s body. If children are not breastfed enough, iron deficiency will lead to anemia. In particular, if the child does not breastfeed but eat formula (cow’s milk), the allergy may be chronic anemia.

5. How to prevent iron deficiency and anemia for pregnant women:

To control and prevent anemia during pregnancy, doctors recommend that pregnant women need:

  • Iron supplements form medicine, food supplements, foods with the recommended dose (30mg / day).
  • Supplement with folic acid at the dose of 400mcg – 600mcg / day throughout the time from preparing to pregnancy until stopping breastfeeding.
  • Take vitamin B12 tablets or supplements through your diet. Good sources of B12 are foods like eggs, meat and milk.
  • Vitamin C supplementation is also needed for iron absorption. Food is an ideal source of vitamin C. However, vitamin C will dissolve in water rather than store it long in the body. If you choose to supplement your diet with vitamin C, make sure to include vitamin C-rich foods every day.
  • Increase iron through a healthy diet with a variety of iron-rich foods. Red meat such as beef, veal, and lamb are the best options, but poultry along with other meats and shellfish are also good sources of iron. Iron sources of plant origin include beans, tofu, raisins, dates, prunes, apricots, whole-skinned potatoes, broccoli, beets, green vegetables, breads made from whole grains, nuts and iron fortified grains.
  • If the mother is anemic, iron can be supplemented by injection or sometimes blood transfusions, but must be prescribed by a doctor. Pregnant women with severe anemia are often advised not to get pregnant to avoid complications for the mother and baby until they are fully replenished.

During pregnancy, before pregnancy and while breastfeeding, women should pay special attention to adequate nutritional supplements, especially hematopoietic substances such as protein, iron, folic acid, Vitamin B12. The normal diet for pregnant women may not be enough to provide the above nutrients to the body, so mothers should supplement from the source of medicine, additional food to ensure the daily iron requirement is met. 30mg, folic acid is 400mcg, Vitamin B12 is 2.6mcg.



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