Selasa, 10 Juni 2008

Anemia in Pregnancy



Anemia is one of several health problems which can be found during pregnancy. So, it is extra important to ensure that we are getting the recommended daily intake of iron since the baby will be drawing from our iron reserves. A lack of sufficient iron from the diet can result in anemia, which can put both mother and the baby at risk.

What is anemia?

Anemia refers to a condition whereby the body lacks of appropriate amount of hemoglobin, or red blood cells. Red blood cells are an important part of the body’s blood system as they carry oxygen to other cells in the body. Having a shortage of these blood cells means that the body must work harder to get that oxygen to its organs and tissue, and we are likely to feel lethargic.

The role of iron in anemia

Anemia can be caused by a variety of things. The most common form of anemia is due to vitamin or nutrient deficiency. Known as nutritional anemia, a lack of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 can result in a woman developing anemia.

Normally, the recommended daily intake of iron for an adult woman is 18 mg per day. During pregnancy, though, this increases to 27 mg per day due to the rise in maternal blood volume. Unfortunately, most women already have low iron stores prior to their pregnancy. Even if we eat a well-balanced diet while pregnant, it is still unlikely that we will get the recommended 27 mg of iron a day since even the most nutritional diet only provides us with a small amount of iron.

Sign and symptom of anemia

Many women do not realize that they have developed anemia. It is not unusual for women with a mild condition to fail to notice any symptoms of an iron deficiency. Several typical signs of anemia include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Tiredness, weakness, or fainting
  • Paleness, infrequent:
  • Palpitations or an abnormal awareness of the heartbeat
  • Inflamed, sore tongue,
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Jaundice

Causes of anemia

  • Poor diet with inadequate iron
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Loss of blood from bleeding hemorrhoids or gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Even if iron and folic acid intake are sufficient, a pregnant woman may become anemic because pregnancy alters the digestive process.
  • How to determine that we have an iron deficiency

Anemia treatment

If the test indicates anemic condition, an iron supplement 60 to 120 mg a day or more should be consumed. To make sure the iron is absorbed as much as possible, the iron pills should be taken on an empty stomach. Wash them down with water or orange juice as vitamin C helps with absorption, but not with milk (calcium hinders absorption)

How to get enough iron

There are many iron rich foods that make up a healthy diet. Red meat is perhaps one of the best sources of iron but fish and poultry come in at a close second. For those of you who prefer to get your iron from non-meat sources, look to include tofu, egges, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, whole-grain bread, iron fortified cereals and dried fruit in the diet.

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