By Dr Rita Bakshi
Any unwanted nudge during pregnancy can be really disappointing and heartbreaking. Pregnancy is the time that the prospective mother should always be pampered, well-nourished and most importantly healthy. Wholesome health of the mother is really important as the little one is completely dependent on the mother for nutrition and growth.
However, dietary insufficiencies, unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyles of women have eventually presented several deteriorating health conditions among prospective mothers, including anaemia. Adding to this, prenatal anaemia can be life-threatening and serious for the health of the mother and the baby.
What is prenatal anaemia?
Anaemia is a health condition in which there is an insufficient amount of healthy red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen to the tissues. When the tissues do not get a sufficient quantity of oxygen, many organs and their functions are strained and disturbed. Anaemia during pregnancy can be alarming as it might have detrimental effects on the health of the baby leading to low birth weight, premature birth, maternal mortality and several other complications.
Women who are pregnant are generally at a higher risk for developing anaemia due to the extra amount of blood the body produces to deliver nutrients for the baby. Anaemia during pregnancy if detected at an early stage can be treated under the guidance of a good doctor. It is always advised to the prospective mother to go for a couple of tests, including for anaemia, when she first visits a gynaecologist.
Some symptoms of prenatal anaemia
There are several symptoms of this condition. Some of them include unnecessary fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, weakness, trouble in concentration and fast heartbeat.
It is very important that the prospective mother doesn’t ignore these conditions and communicates these indications to her doctor.
How to deal with anemia during pregnancy
· It is very essential to fight anaemia during pregnancy because of the above mentioned reasons.
· The foremost step while battling this health condition is to see your doctor, who shall guide you on how to overcome this illness. She may advise you to start taking iron supplement or folic acid supplements in addition to your prenatal vitamins.
· Folic acid is really essential when it comes to pregnancy. As doctors, we often suggest that women must start consuming folic acid when they start planning their pregnancy as it absorbs iron in the body which is essentially required during pregnancy. A pregnant woman requires double the amount of iron to sustain the baby in comparison to a woman who is not pregnant. This is why it is always asserted to consume folic acid even before a woman is actually pregnant.
· Anaemic expecting mothers are also required to consume a healthy diet which is essentially enriched with meat, dairy products and eggs. Along with this, the prospective mother must also consume green vegetables in abundance to ensure proper health.
· To provide the body with adequate nourishment, one requires ample amounts of Vitamin C. Include bell peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, fresh juices and strawberries in your diet.
· Eating iron-rich foods like nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and tofu can also prove beneficial.
(The writer is a senior infertility specialist and chairperson of International Fertility Centre.)