Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease in the number of healthy red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin circulating in the body. Anemia can affect anyone, but it is particularly common during pregnancy, when the body requires more blood cells and hemoglobin.
The body needs to make more blood during pregnancy, so it requires more iron and vitamins to produce a protein in red blood cells called hemoglobin. This protein transports oxygen to other cells in the body.
If anemia is severe during pregnancy, the developing baby may be at risk of anemia as an infant. People with anemia also have a higher risk of giving birth prematurely or delivering a low weight baby. Having anemia also increases the risk of blood loss during labor, which can make it more difficult to fight infection.
However, people can usually treat the condition by eating more iron-rich foods and taking iron supplements.
This article provides more information about anemia and the types that can occur during pregnancy. It also looks at the symptoms and risk factors and gives some prevention tips.
What is anemia?
A person with anemia has low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin contains iron and is the protein that gives blood its red color. It combines with oxygen from the lungs, which it transports throughout the body.
Anemia is the most common blood disease. There are more than 400 types of anemia, many of which have their own specific causes, treatments, and outlooks.
Anemia is usually an indicator of an underlying conditionTrusted Source. An accurate diagnosis is important because anemia can lead to a reduced amount of oxygen in the body’s tissue and worsen the progression of many coexisting diseases.