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How does anemia affect women during pregnancy?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Many women today who are overeating fast foods and processed foods do not get the necessary iron and folic acid in their diets to maintain adequate red blood cells. When pregnancy occurs there is an increased need for these cells to carry the oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The baby will take what it needs from mom and if she doesn’t have enough left over for herself she will become anemic. She may notice that she feels tired, short of breath, has headaches, feels feint, feels cold or is just more lethargic. Your health care provider will check you for anemia at your first prenatal visit and again at 26-28 weeks gestation and add extra iron supplementation to your daily vitamins if needed.

Anemia – Lower than normal number of healthy red blood cells

Symptoms :

Feel tired or weakLook paleFeel faintShortness of breath

Treating the underlying cause of the anemia will help restore the number of healthy red blood cells. Women with pregnancy related anemia are helped by taking iron and folic acid supplements. Your doctor will check your iron levels throughout pregnancy to be sure anemia does not happen again.


This answer is based on source information from The U.S Department of Human Services Office on Womens Health.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.