In order to facilitate the proper development of a fetus that is growing at an extremely fast rate, the mother’s body is put through a lot of pressure nutritionally and physically.
If the mother’s diet is devoid or deficient in some vital nutrients, the mother’s body automatically tries drawing crucial nutrients from her reserves and supplies it to the fetus.
This occurs at the cost of the mother’s well-being and is nature’s way of supporting the developing fetus. Anemia is one of the most commonly complained about complications during pregnancy.
Why Does Anemia Occur During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the mother’s blood volume doubles up to accommodate a growing fetus. With this sudden increase in blood volume, the red blood cells look out for iron stores to make up for the dip in hemoglobin levels. When iron stores are not sufficient in the body, the red blood cells automatically fall short of hemoglobin, leading to anemia.
Secondly, the mother’s milk is not a rich source of iron. Therefore, the fetus in the mother’s womb tries to store as much iron as possible to help it survive for the first six months when it will not get any additional iron supply from external sources. Therefore, iron is drawn from the mother’s body and is stored in fetus’ liver even if the mother’s diet is deficient in iron.
Symptoms Of Anemia During Pregnancy
If the mother is not able to consume adequate quantities of iron for accommodating the aforementioned changes, she will automatically suffer from anemia. Listed below are some common symptoms of anemia induced during pregnancy:
Shortness Of Breath
This is the most easily recognizable symptom of anemia. When the red blood cells are devoid of hemoglobin, their growth and development is impaired. Some of them die while other cells do not function properly. Since red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to various parts of the body, a deformed red blood cell will not be able to perform its task properly. This leads to oxygen depletion causing shortness of breath.
Weakness And Lethargy
When the body does not get proper amounts of oxygen supply, the affected mother will automatically feel weak and tired even if she does not perform any work.
A decrease in the amount of red blood cells in the body will make the skin appear pale in color. This is most easily noticed in the eyelid region.
A constant decrease in iron stores will affect the functioning of red blood cells in a drastic manner. When the red blood cells are not able to supply sufficient amounts of oxygen to the brain, it will directly lead to dizziness and weakness.
Dangers Of Anemia During Pregnancy
When this condition continues for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to several complications in the mother and the developing fetus. Premature delivery, low birth weight infants, urinary tract infections in the mother and maternal mortality are some of the complications related to anemia during pregnancy.
If anemia has been diagnosed, the mother should be encouraged to eat iron rich foods. In some cases, if the anemia is extremely severe the doctor may advise the mother to consume iron supplements to boost her body with instant iron stores.