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Anemia in Pregnancy
|Red Blood Cells|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Anemia before pregnancy
- Very heavy menstrual flow before pregnancy
- Morning sickness with frequent vomiting
- Pregnancies that are close together
- Carrying twins or multiples
- A diet that is low in iron
- Abnormal hemoglobins (more common in individuals of African, Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, or West Indian ethnicity or descent)
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Pale skin, especially the palms of the hands, lips, nails, and eyelids
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Cravings for non-food items such as clay, ice, and paper
- Hematocrit level—the percentage of red blood cells in your blood compared to total blood volume
- Hemoglobin level—the amount of hemoglobin in your blood
Folic Acid or Vitamin B12 Supplementation
- Seek early prenatal care.
- Take a prenatal vitamin containing iron, as prescribed by your practitioner, from the beginning of pregnancy.
- Eat foods that are high in iron including red meat, poultry, pork, shellfish, beans, iron-fortified breads and cereals, dried fruits, and leafy green vegetables.
- Eat foods that contain folic acid including whole grains, wheat germ, broccoli, beans, orange juice, and leafy green vegetables.
American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org
US Department of Health and Human Services Women’s Health http://www.womenshealth.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
American Dietetic Association. Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. J Am Diet Assoc . 2002; 102:1470-1490.
Anemia & pregnancy. American Society of Hematology website. Available at: http://www.hematology.org/patients/blood-disorders/anemia/5227.aspx. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Anemia and pregnancy. University of California San Francisco Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/anemia%5Fand%5Fpregnancy. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Anemia in pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin No. 95 . Published July 2008. Reaffirmed 2012.
Hemoglobinopathies in Pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin, No. 78 . Published January 2007. Reaffirmed 2008.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/28/2014