What is anaemia during pregnancy and how can you treat it?

Anaemia is a condition where there is insufficient haemoglobin in the blood, there are several types of anaemia depending on what causes it such as sickle cell anaemia. Anaemia caused by iron deficiency is a common woe amongst pregnant women. This is because, during pregnancy, your body requires more iron to produce the excess blood for your baby. If you don’t augment your iron intake, you are likely to develop anaemia.  

If anaemia is not controlled early on, it can increase your risk of premature birth, delivering a baby with low birth weight as well as developing postpartum depression. You would be at a higher risk of developing gestational anaemia (anaemia during pregnancy) if:  

  • Have a small gap (less than a year) between two pregnancies 
  • Having multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets etc) 
  • Experiencing severe morning sickness 
  • Have a low iron intake 
  • Have a pre-pregnancy heavy menstrual flow 
  • Have a history of anaemia 

If you notice any of the following signs, get in touch with your obstetrician. Based on the severity, your doctor would adjust your prenatal vitamins and/or diet to supplement iron. Common symptoms of anaemia during pregnancy are: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Weakness 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness/light-headedness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat 
  • Numbness or shivers in your hands and feet 
  • Low body temperature 
  • Pale skin 
  • Chest pain 

These symptoms are extremely similar to general pregnancy symptoms. Hence you would undergo blood tests for anaemia regardless during your prenatal visits. Hence it is all the more important to maintain regular appointments with your obstetrician.

Your doctor would typically adjust the dosage and combination of your prenatal vitamins to manage gestational anaemia. While most prenatal vitamins contain iron, your doctor might also recommend an additional iron supplement. You might be required to adjust your diet to include more lean red meat, poultry, fish and green vegetables such as spinach. If you have a history of gastric bypass or small bowel surgery that makes it difficult for you to tolerate oral iron, you might also be administered iron intravenously.  

A major aspect of ensuring a healthy pregnancy is choosing the right doctor and the best hospital for pregnancy in Gurgaon. So, make the choice carefully and learn all about their experience of dealing with pregnancy complications as well as their infrastructure. Choose a doctor with whom you are comfortable enough to discuss your emotions and questions with complete confidence and candour.