WHO says about 40% of pregnant women in the world have a low amount of red blood cells (anaemic). Read more to find out what can be done about it.
What can iron and folate deficiency in pregnancy cause?
Why Iron and folate deficiency occur in pregnancy?
Pregnant women have increased requirement of iron and folate (vitamin B9 or folic acid) in order to meet their own as well as the needs of developing a fetus. It is difficult for most women to meet the nutritional demands of the growing fetus without depleting iron stores. This leads to anemia in pregnant women. Moreover, the requirement of folate increases during pregnancy due to the rapidly dividing cells of the growing fetus.
Effects of deficiencies in pregnancy
Deficiencies of iron and folate in pregnant women can cause a negative impact on the health of the mother and fetus, such as maternal anemia, low birth weight and puerperal sepsis. Impaired resistance to infection is seen in those with iron deficiency. Folate deficiency can lead to complications and abnormalities in the fetus, like neural tube defects, fetal malformation or premature delivery.
Available diagnostic tests
The doctors confirm the diagnosis of iron deficiency by the tests like Complete Blood count or CBC, which throws light on the hemoglobin and many red cell indices. The new era 6-part differential count CBC test can even help an experienced pathologist to identify hemoglobin disorders. Also, Folate test and measurement of Vitamin B levels can be used for evaluating folic acid deficiency.
Sources of iron and folate
You can find folates in abundance in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and lentils. Also, the Foods rich in iron include meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses and legumes. Supplementation for both is also available to work on deficiency, which should be taken as suggested by a medical practitioner. Usage of iron and folate supplements during pregnancy is helpful to lower the risk of iron deficiency and anemia.