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Anemia in Pregnancy

What is anemia? Anemia is a pathological condition characterized by a decrease in the total number of erythrocytes and hemoglobin in the circulating blood. Erythrocytes are red blood cells that transport respiratory gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the human body. The pigment hemoglobin, which is part of the erythrocytes, is responsible for binding oxygen at the level of the lungs and transporting it throughout the body.

At the level of peripheral tissues, oxygen is disconnected from hemoglobin and passes into cells, from which, in turn, carbon dioxide (a byproduct formed as a result of cellular respiration) is released. Carbon dioxide also binds to the hemoglobin of red blood cells and is delivered to the lungs, where it is released together with the exhaled air.

Why does anemia occur during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, a number of physiological changes are observed in the female body, the purpose of which is to create favorable conditions for the growth and development of the fetus. One of these changes is an increase in the volume of circulating blood, which occurs mainly due to its liquid part (plasma), while an increase in the number of red blood cells is less pronounced (although it does). As a result, the phenomenon of so-called hydremia (dilution of blood) is observed. That’s why during pregnancy (mainly from the 2nd trimester) the laboratory indicators of red blood in women can be slightly below the norm, which is not an anemia.

Anemia in pregnant women is considered to reduce the level of erythrocytes less than 3.5 x 10 12/ liter and a decrease in hemoglobin levels of less than 115 grams/liter. The reason for this may be a lack in the mother’s body of the plastic substances necessary for the formation of red blood cells (due to their transition to a developing fetus), a violation of hematopoiesis in the red bone marrow (located in the femoral, pelvic and other bones of the body), blood loss and so on.

It should be noted immediately that a pregnant woman may develop anemia, not associated with pregnancy (for example, with diseases of the blood system, which may be accompanied by a violation of the formation process or increased destruction of red blood cells). Such anemia is clinically manifested during the first half of pregnancy. At the same time, the primary manifestation of anemia in 2 to 3 trimesters is usually associated with pregnancy and requires a special approach to diagnosis and treatment.

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