Hemoglobin is a red blood pigment that transmits oxygen to the body tissues. If hemoglobin levels fall below the required value, anemia occurs.
The most common cause of low hemoglobin levels is iron deficiency in the body, as well as insufficient amount of folic acid.
Although you can receive enough iron and folic acid with food, anemia can develop when you are expecting a baby; blood is diluted in pregnancy blood, as its volume increases. In addition, in later stages of pregnancy the baby requires an increasing amount of iron and folic acid.
If anemia is very mild, you may not even notice any symptoms. But if it is pronounced, the symptoms are paleness, weakness, fatigue, breath loss, dizziness, and heart palpitations.
Anemia in pregnancy can increase complications accompanied by high blood loss, such as in bleeding after birth. Additionally, you will be more prone to infections after childbirth. If anemia is severe, the baby may not get enough oxygen (in the womb) and therefore will not have enough iron reserves to ”fight” the (possible) jaundice in the first weeks of life.
What to do?
Anemia in pregnancy can be prevented by taking food that is rich in iron – liver, beef, unprocessed bread, eggs, and dried fruits. Eat lemons, oranges, grapes and fresh vegetables, because vitamin C contributes to the iron absorption. Eat plenty of green vegetables which is the best source of folic acid.
With a simple blood test the doctor will check (in an early pregnancy) whether you are anemic or not. Although the analysis may show you are not anemic, your doctor will probably prescribe iron and folic acid tablets as a supplement to what you regularly get with your diet. In the past, such tablets have caused nausea and constipation in many people, but today these side effects are reduced to the smallest extent. If you suffer from these side effects despite improved preparations, tell a doctor who will prescribe a different type of tablet that may suit you better.
If you get severe anemia, which is unlikely, your doctor will prescribe you therapy as with sideropenic (iron deficiency) anemia.