Anemia during pregnancy is a problem that can be avoided along with its risks to the pregnant woman and the fetus. The causes and types of this anemia include:
1- Expansion (increase) of the blood plasma during pregnancy, which would disrupt the balance between the blood plasma and the quantity of red blood cells.
2- Iron deficiency.
3- Folic acid anemia.
4- Sickle cell anemia.
5- Thalassemia or Mediterranean anemia.
However, iron deficiency anemia represents 90% of cases of anemia during pregnancy, but if the woman starts before and during Pregnancy to eat foods that contain iron or if she took iron supplement in any form we will be able to control 90% of cases of anemia during pregnancy.
The amount of iron needed by the fetus for growth and development may exceed the amount of iron reservoirs in the mother body because of the pre-pregnancy loss of iron with the blood of the menstrual cycle, or because of malnutrition.
What are the effects of iron deficiency on the fetus?
The lack of iron means lack of hemoglobin, and the lack of hemoglobin leads to a decrease in fetal oxygen supply which needed for biological processes during growth, which may reduce the growth of the fetus.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia:
These symptoms include fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath, headache, weak immunity against the bacteria, inability to concentrate, craving (which is the desire to eat unusual things such as paper, clay, snow or coal).
Foods that contain iron:
These foods include red meat, liver, fish, birds, crustaceans, tuna, eggs, beans, dried fruits, salmon and dark green leafy vegetables.
Absorption of iron from foods:
Foods of animal-origin are the best sources of iron because it is easy to absorb iron from them. On the other hand, it is hard for the body to absorb iron from the foods of plant origin, and what is worse is to take dark colored tea with plant foods because it interferes with iron absorption. The combination of animal foods that contain iron and plant foods that contain iron will lead to increased absorption of iron from plant foods as well the absorbed iron from animal foods. To increase the absorption of iron it is advisable to take more of vitamin C by eating foods that contain vitamin C or taking this vitamin in form of tablets.
The required daily intake of iron:
The female needs 15 mg per day, and the male needs about ten mg per day from his childhood to old age, unless there was a disease leading to iron deficiency, such as loss of blood from the digestive system due to ulcers. The female may need more iron if she is having a heavy menstrual period. However, they do not need more than ten mg per day of iron after menopause. The pregnant woman needs to have 30 mg per day (for her and the baby).
Folic acid deficiency:
Folic acid is one of the important supplements that must be taken before pregnancy for its benefits for the blood, and its role in reducing birth defects. The estimated daily dose of folic acid is 400 micrograms, and the pregnant woman should continue to take it throughout her pregnancy.
The genetic type of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia is different from folic acid or iron deficiency. Pregnant woman who is suffering from genetic anemia needs a different and critical clinical care.