ANAEMIA DURING PREGNANCY

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Hahnemann Ki Aawaz posted on 01 – 04 – 2013

Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells, which can lead to a lack of oxygen-carrying ability, causing unusual tiredness.

The deficiency occurs either through the reduced production or an increased loss of red blood cells.

These cells are manufactured in the bone marrow and have a life expectancy of approximately four months.

To produce red blood cells, the body needs (among other things)iron,vitamin-b and folic acid. If there is a lack of one or more of these ingredients, anaemia will develop.

What are red blood cells?

Red blood cells are the cells that circulate in the blood plasma (fluid) and give blood its red colour.

Through its pumping action, the heart propels the blood around the body through the arteries.

The red blood cells obtain oxygen in the lungs and carry it to all the body’s cells.

The cells use the oxygen to fuel the combustion (burning) of sugar and fat, which produces the body’s energy.

During this process, called oxidation, carbon dioxide is created as a waste product.

It binds itself to the red blood cells that have delivered their load of oxygen.

The carbon dioxide is then transported via the blood in the veins back to the lungs where it is exchanged for fresh oxygen by breathing.

Anaemia

Causes of anaemia during pregnancy

CAUSES-
1. Due to inadequate iron in the diet or iron losses due to heavy menstruation before pregnancy.
2. Because of high iron requirements, pregnancy often result in iron deficiency anaemia.
3. Other causes-
• Failure to take oral iron tablets due to:-
a) Nausea & vomiting
b) Poor GI tolerance to oral iron
c) Negligence to take oral iron tablets.
• Bleeding(vaginal, rectal)- piles, dysentery,etc.
• Twins, Antepartum haemorrhage, toxaemia of pregnancy, nephritis.
• Mal-absorption & helmenthic infection.
• Poor dietary habits.
• Deficiency of vitamins such as Vitamin B12, C, folic acid.
• Deficiency of gastric intrinsic factor, deficient intestinal absorption.
• Loss of appetite & diarrhoea.
• Hyposecretion of gastric HCl & pepsin interferes absorption & haemotopoesis.

Anaemia 1

Symptoms of Anemia

The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia (if any) are:

Paleness, Weakness,Tiredness,Chest pains (in severe cases)
Shortness of breath (in severe cases),Heart palpitations (in severe cases),An increased heart rate especially during exertion (in severe cases),Rapid breathing,Low blood pressure, The symptoms of vitamin B12 anemia can also cause: Jaundice ,Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet,Equilibrium difficulties ,Confusion,Personality changes and depression

Anaemia 2

Possible complications of anaemia

  • Difficulty in breathing, palpitations and angina.
  • Severe anaemia due to loss of blood after the delivery. If this occurs, then a woman may be advised to have a blood transfusion.
  • DIAGNOSIS-

Anaemia in pregnancy is diagnosed if the Hb is less than 10 gm% or the hematocrit reading is less than 30%.

Iron deficiency anaemia is generally diagnosed by:-
1. The appearance of microcytic hypochromic erythrocytes in a

Anaemia 3

peripheral blood smear.
2. Low serum iron (less than 60 micro grams) accompanied by high total iron binding capacity (over 300 micrograms %) or transfer in saturation of only 15%.
3. Lack of stainable iron in & otherwise normal bone marrow.
4. Response to iron therapy. The peripheral blood smear is helpful in the diagnosis of chronic iron deficiency anaemia but not so much in mild pregnancy anaemia of short duration. The most common sequential changes in iron deficiency anaemia are:-
• As the Hb falls there is a decrease in the storage of iron.
• Decrease in the serum iron & increase in iron binding capacity.
• Decrease in red cell mass & plasma volume followed by restoration of blood volume.
• Decrease in M.C.H.C.
• Decrease in tissue iron

INVESTIGATIONS-
• Antenatal examination of all the system thoroughly.
• The Hb should be first estimated on 1st antenatal visit & then at the 28th week & 36th week.
• When iron is not tolerated by mouth or no response to the administration, in such cases.
1. Haematological investigation including bone marrow test
2. Estimation of plasma iron binding capacity should be investigated.
, contact of a sick person is to be avoided as a precautionary measure.

• Homoeopathic medicines are very effective to correct anaemia.

What can be done to avoid anaemia during pregnancy?

  • Be sure to get a varied diet.
  • If planning a pregnancy, talk to a doctor or midwife about food and supplements – if possible, before becoming pregnant.
  • Good sources of iron are beef, wholemeal bread and cereals, eggs, spinach and dried fruit.
  • Supplementing the diet with iron vitamins and folic acid.Taking 400 micrograms folic acid when pregnant is important to reduce the risk of having child with spina bifida. A doctor may advise taking combined iron and folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant.
  • To absorb the maximum amount of iron from the diet, it will help to also eat a diet rich in vitamin C. Raw vegetables, potatoes, lemon, lime and oranges are all good sources of vitamin C.
  • Foods rich in folic acid include beans, muesli, broccoli, beef, Brussels sprouts and asparagus..

Treatment for  anemia:

Conventional treatments emphasize on:
Lifestyle changes and
Medications.
Lifestyle changes
Some life style changes can help you remain healthy without having to depend upon too many medications.
Diet
A balanced and nutritious diet can go a long way in reversing anemia.

  • Red meats, egg yolks, clams & liver are some of the richest sources of iron.

However, there is hope for vegetarians too. Dietary iron is obtained from:

  • Spinach and other dark leafy vegetables
  • Dried beans
  • Parsley (herb) is one of the richest source of iron among plants
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Dried fruits (apricots, peaches, raisins, and prunes)
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified soy products
  • Brewers yeast

Cooking in iron pots and pans can also increase the amounts of iron consumed.
Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption in the body. So, a diet rich in vitamin C consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables (amla, guavas, limes, oranges, tomatoes, cabbages, etc.) should be maintained as well.
Exercises in moderation can improve blood circulation. However, an excess is additional stress which can be harmful in severe anemia. So, discuss with your physician before starting any regimen.
Medications
For the treatment of anemia, prescription drugs as well as over the counter medications are available. Still, it is better to seek medical advice before starting any supplementary regimen.
The most common prescription medications are:

  • Folic acid supplements
  • Vitamin B12 injections
  • Iron supplements
  • Intake of iron supplements can cause toxicity in some persons. A rare genetic disorder called hemochromatosis causes increased absorption of iron leading to an overload. This condition is as dangerous as having too little iron in the body. Since men lose less hemochromatosis is more prevalent in men. The condition is also common in persons from Northern Europe.

Homeopathic treatment for  anemia:
In addition to the supplements with iron and other components, homeopathic medications work wonders for cases of Nutritional anemia by treating the cause such as problems with absorption and assimilation of food. The medicines increase iron absorption and its assimilation.  The medications act without any side-effects.

.HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT-
Caused by loss of animal fluids, as from haemorrhage, long continued diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, etc-China

Face, lips & mucous membranes very pale, but become red & flushed on least pain, emotion or exertion-Ferrum met

Constant feeling of chilliness & still feeling better in open air, with menstrual & uterine disorders. After abuse of iron & quine-Pulsatilla

From loss of animal fluids; in women suffering menstrual disorders, menses may be delayed; scanty or suppressed-Nat mur

Weakness and lassitude , visual disturbance —– Cyclamen

If all the symptoms are better when lying down —– Manganum aceticum

Weakness , tiredness , breathlessness — Phosphorous

In all kinds of anaemia , 5 grains or 5 tablets thrice daily dry or with milk – Calc.phos

Specially suited to women —- Ferrum mur.

For bilious patients — Natrum sulph

When there is extreme prostration and restlessness — ferrum met , picric acid , also indicated .

 

Dr.Ankit Mitra

 

Dr. Ankit Mittra

National Media Officer- Youth Homoeopathic Association

Mittra Homoeo Clinic,

Shiv Chowk, Sirsa, Haryana.

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