Pregnancy is one of the most blissful experiences in a woman's life. To be able to carry a life inside you can give unbound joy. With the onset on pregnancy, come many health issues, one of them being low levels of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is one of the major components in the blood which transports oxygen in the red blood cells to other organs of the body. A lot of pregnant women experience low hemoglobin during their term. In fact, this condition is one of the most common problems during pregnancy. At the time of pregnancy, the volume of blood increases considerably but it also tends to decrease the levels of hemoglobin and the concentration of red blood cells in the body. This can result in the woman suffering from anemia.
Effects of Anemia During Pregnancy
Low hemoglobin or anemia is a common issue at the time of pregnancy, since a pregnant woman needs to satisfy the requirements of iron for her and the baby. During pregnancy, the amount of blood has to increase to nourish the growing fetus in the womb. Due to this reason, the body tends to produce blood at a faster rate. Sometimes the requirement for iron surpasses the amount of iron stored in the body, which may lead to iron deficiency anemia which is the most common form of anemia during pregnancy. At times, anemia does not show any symptoms.
However, some of the symptoms of low hemoglobin may include:
- Fatigue and feeling weak all the time
- Pale skin
- Recurrent headaches, ranging from mild to severe
- Feeling dizzy and unable to do any work
- A feeling of numbness or coldness in the hands and legs
- Irregular and rapid heartbeats
- Body temperature tends to lower
- Mild chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Becoming irritable
- Pica, or an abnormal craving to eat weird things like clay, paint, mud and sometimes even ice
- Tingling sensation in the palms and feet
Morning sickness which may induce vomiting, having more than one fetus in the womb, experiencing heavy menstrual flow before pregnancy and not eating proper iron enriched foods and supplements as prescribed by the doctor may increase the risk of suffering from low hemoglobin during pregnancy.
Treating Low Hemoglobin
It is very essential to have normal levels before pregnancy, during the entire term of pregnancy and even after childbirth. A pregnant woman is supposed to consume approximately 28 to 30 mg of iron through diet and other supplements. A regular hemoglobin count checkup must be done to ensure that the levels of hemoglobin remain stable. The doctor may advice a blood test in order to check for the levels. In case of anemia, the doctor may prescribe iron pills and supplements to bring the levels to normal as a method of treatment.
There are also certain prenatal vitamins which have iron in them. Apart from these supplements, a well-balanced diet that is rich in iron and vitamin C must be taken. Foods rich in iron include green leafy vegetables, dry fruits, sea food, lean meat, whole grains and cereals. A proper diet including supplements will ensure that the hemoglobin levels remain normal throughout the term and even after it.
Low hemoglobin levels during pregnancy can be a bit risky for both, the mother as well as the child. So eat foods rich in iron to maintain a normal level of hemoglobin in the body and visit your obstetrician for a regular checkup in order to have a safe delivery. Take care!