Does maternal anemia during pregnancy influence fetal growth?

(December 22, 2009)

Maternal anemia can not only impair fetal growth but it could even kill the fetus. In the fetus, anemia can even lead to yet another condition called macrosomia or a child that is larger than normal. These are not completely rare conditions to encounter and certain ethnicities are actually prone to the occurrences of these conditions more than others are. This may or may not be prevented but is certainly manageable to a large degree. Maternal anemia could be caused by two factors – abnormal hemolysis or an iron deficiency.

Abnormal hemolysis is something that would indicate a preexisting problem and your doctor would have to treat or manage the underlying cause. Hemolysis is a natural body progression of destroying red blood cells. Red blood cells in the body have a 120 day lifespan after which they are sent to the spleen to be destroyed. The iron in the hemoglobin is recycled and the rest of the products of red blood cell breakdown are reused as the digestive juice bile from the liver. Aggravated hemolysis is something that would manifest itself in jaundice and if you don’t show this symptom then that can be ruled out.

One of the more common causes of anemia during pregnancy is an iron deficiency. During pregnancy, you have to share all your body resources with the new being in the womb and iron is just one more of these. Note, this is an extremely dangerous condition with serious ramifications for a pregnant mother and child because there is a risk of premature birth, and uterine rupture occurring. The sad part of this problem is that it can go undiagnosed with the female not really being able to differentiate between regular fatigue and anemia. It is therefore a good idea to simply be safe rather than sorry and have a regular daily intake of iron in the diet or as supplements. The dietary sources of iron are varied and whether you are non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or even vegan, iron is something you should be able to easily add to your diet. The richest source of iron is in red meat though ingesting this during pregnancy may not be the best thing. Instead, you could also have more spinach, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin C helps in retaining an absorbing iron so fruit juices are also advised in the mornings to facilitate adequate absorption of iron through the day.

Submitted by P T on December 22, 2009 at 01:00

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