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Anemia in Pregnancy

The prevalence of anemia in pregnant women has remained high worldwide despite the fact that routine iron supplementation during pregnancy has been universally recommended to prevent maternal anemia, especially in developing countries over the past 30 years.1

In order to maintain utero-placental circulation, volume of blood increases during pregnancy (hemodilution), thereby a moderate decrease in the concentration of RBCs and hemoglobin is normal.

The most common causes of anemia in pregnancy are iron deficiency and folate deficiency.

Anemia in pregnancy is more common in patients who are already anemic at conception such as patients with hemoglobinopathies, patients with history of poor diet intake and those with a history of menorrhagia.

Women with multiple pregnancies and with history of smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy are more prone to the development of anemia. Severe anemia during pregnancy has been shown to be associated with increased preterm birth and low- birth weight babies, increased induction rates, prolonged labor and operative deliveries.2,3

As severe anemia in pregnancy may have adverse effects in the newborn, it should be treated or prevented early in pregnancy with routine iron and folic acid supplementation.

It is advisable that most pregnant women should be given supplemental iron (ferrous sulphate 300–600 mg/day), even though the hemoglobin is normal at the beginning of pregnancy. This measure will prevent depletion of iron reserves and anemia that may occur in case of bleeding or with future pregnancy.

In addition, intake of a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy helps maintain the levels of iron and other important nutrients needed for the health of the mother and growing baby.


Related topics:

Iron deficiency anemia

Vitamin deficiency anemia

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 03, 2011