Anemia in Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know
Anemia is a health condition where you aren’t producing enough red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. Pregnant women are more at risk for anemia because of the additional oxygen required to supplement themselves and their babies.
For that reason, anemia in pregnancy could lead to health complications and developmental damage for both mother and baby. Therefore, it’s crucial for expecting mothers to be vigilant and take measures to ensure they get enough iron, protein, and other nutrients to prevent anemia.
Types of Anemia during Pregnancy
As with most conditions, several types of anemia can happen during pregnancy. While there are hundreds of different forms of anemia, we’ll look at three of the most common and serious types that can affect pregnant women.
As the name indicates, iron-deficiency anemia is when you don’t have enough iron in your bloodstream, and it is the most common form of anemia in pregnancy. Iron is a foundational mineral for creating hemoglobin, a crucial protein in red blood cells, and helps carry blood from the lungs to other body parts. If you don’t have enough iron in your blood, your body will experience a shortage of hemoglobin, red blood cells, and oxygen.
Intravenous iron therapy is a convenient and effective method to restore normal iron levels in your body. Our team of medical professionals screens your lab results and determines the sufficient amount of treatments to normalize your iron levels. Our medical team will come to your location in the area and administer the Iron infusion.Book Iron IV
Folate, like iron, is crucial to helping your body create red blood cells and transport oxygen. Typically, the body produces enough folate to meet the body’s demands. However, because pregnant women require more red blood cells and oxygen, the body can’t always produce enough folate to match the increased demand. Although folate deficiency anemia isn’t as common as iron deficiency, it is just as serious.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Along with iron and folate, vitamin B12 is another crucial component in creating red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Without enough B12, your body will struggle to create red blood cells, resulting in an oxygen shortage and potential health complications.
Causes of Anemia in Pregnancy
Several factors can lead to anemia during pregnancy. In general, most causes are due to the extra need for red blood cells and oxygen, as the body isn’t always capable of keeping up with demand. Here are three of the main causes of anemia in pregnancy.
If nutritional deficiencies are causing your anemia, it’s probably because you don’t have enough iron in your diet. Iron is one of the most critical minerals in creating hemoglobin, the foundational element of red blood cells. Therefore, if you have an iron deficiency, it will more than likely lead to anemia.
If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you should talk to a doctor about dietary changes you can make to avoid anemia due to nutritional deficiencies.
Blood Loss during Pregnancy
Roughly 25% of all pregnant women will experience some form of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. While blood loss isn’t always a sign of problems, losing too much blood can lead to inadequate amounts of red blood cells. This, in turn, can lead to anemia because your body is losing too much blood and red blood cells.
Blood loss is much more common and problematic immediately following your child’s birth. In some cases, too much blood loss can lead to anemia after pregnancy, which is just as severe for the mother as anemia in pregnancy.
Increased Blood Volume during Pregnancy
The third cause of anemia during pregnancy is the increased blood volume of the expectant mother. Two different things happen during pregnancy that leads to a higher blood volume. First, the fetus and placenta produce hormones that increase blood volume. Second, uteroplacental circulation acts as a shunt between the coronary arteries and the venous side of the heart. These two factors can lead to increased blood volume and anemia.
Symptoms of Anemia in Pregnancy
Because of how dangerous it can be, it’s essential to watch for signs of anemia in pregnancy. In most cases, anemia is a slowly progressing condition that takes time to develop. Therefore, if you know the signs and symptoms to be aware of, you can catch anemia in the early stages and seek treatment before tissue damage occurs.
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Coldness and chills
- Sore tongue
- Restless leg syndrome
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mind fog
Some of the symptoms and signs of anemia in pregnancy are related to not getting enough oxygen to various parts of your body. If you don’t have enough blood flow to the brain, you may feel exhausted, confused, or experience headaches. If you don’t have enough blood flow to your extremities, you may feel cold and experience chills. The same holds true for other parts of your body that don’t get enough oxygen.
Risks Associated with Anemia in Pregnancy
Treating anemia is essential for the health of the mother and her unborn baby. Left untreated, anemia can cause a wide range of complications.
Low Birth Weight
The size of your baby largely depends on the amount of oxygen that gets to the fetus. Therefore, if you don’t have enough red blood cells and oxygen, it could lead to low birth weight.
An iron deficiency during pregnancy can set off a chain reaction leading to premature birth. Iron deficiency can cause maternal infections stimulating the production of CRH, which increases the risk of early delivery.
Increased Risk of Maternal Death
Severe cases of anemia during pregnancy will carry over into the immediate afterbirth. Sometimes, anemia can cause high heart rate, blood hemorrhaging, circulatory decompensation, and blood loss that could ultimately result in death.
Developmental Delays in the Baby
If the fetus doesn’t have enough oxygen flowing to its brain, it can lead to developmental delays after the baby is born.
Because of the risks associated with anemia during pregnancy, it is vital to do everything in your power to prevent it.
Prevention of Anemia in Pregnancy
In nearly all cases, you can prevent anemia in pregnancy. Anemia results from insufficient red blood cells that typically result from a vitamin or nutritional deficiency. You can usually prevent anemia in pregnancy by ensuring that you have enough iron, B12, and folate in your system. You can accomplish this by making dietary changes, taking prenatal vitamins and supplements, and getting tested regularly to check for anemia.
Is Anemia Common in Pregnancy?
Because of the high demand placed on the mother’s body, anemia is fairly common during pregnancy.1 Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms of this condition and start treating it as soon as possible.
Diagnosis of Anemia in Pregnancy
It’s really important to find out if a pregnant woman has anemia because it can cause problems for her and her baby. To make sure everything goes well, doctors need to quickly and accurately check for anemia and take steps to prevent any problems.
Blood Tests to Diagnose Anemia
The best way to diagnose anemia in pregnancy is with a simple blood test known as a CBC (complete blood count) test. A CBC test will measure the number of red blood cells in your bloodstream and is typically performed early in the pregnancy. A CBC will also display the shape and size of your red blood cells and the amount of iron and vitamin B in your system.
Your doctor may also order a folate test to determine whether or not you’re low on folic acid, hemoglobin, and hematocrit tests. While you should always get these tests performed early in the pregnancy, it’s best to continue them throughout.
Anemia in Pregnancy Treatment
If left untreated, anemia can cause serious complications for both mother and baby. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments available to manage anemia in pregnancy.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Support Iron Absorption
In most cases, you can avoid anemia by altering your diet and eating iron-rich foods for pregnancy. Iron deficiencies are the leading cause of anemia in pregnancy, which means that by eating more red meat, chicken, leafy greens, dried beans, and other iron-rich foods, you can usually prevent anemia. Dietary and lifestyle changes are most effective when combined with iron supplements and prenatal vitamins.
Iron Supplements and Prenatal Vitamins
The easiest and safest way to treat anemia while pregnant is to use iron supplements and prenatal vitamins. In most cases, these vitamins and supplements are ingested orally and are strong enough to prevent anemia.
Dietary changes, oral supplements, and IV therapy are adequate for mild to moderate cases of anemia in pregnancy. However, your doctor will recommend a blood transfusion in severe cases where your life or your baby’s life is in danger. Blood transfusions will quickly and effectively get hemoglobin, red blood cells, and oxygen into your body. However, transfusions are typically reserved for severe cases of anemia.
Iron IV Infusion Treatment
IV iron infusion during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to treat and prevent anemia. IV iron infusion in pregnancy delivers iron directly into your bloodstream, where it can be utilized as efficiently and effectively as possible to create red blood cells. Iron IV therapy supports the quick creation and distribution of oxygen in the blood to keep you and your baby healthy.
Anemia in pregnancy is a serious condition that can have serious consequences for both mother and baby if left untreated. Expectant mothers should be aware of the symptoms and risks of anemia in pregnancy and seek prompt medical attention if they suspect they may have this condition. They should also consult with their doctor about dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing anemia.
At-Home Iron Infusion With Drip Hydration
Iron IV therapy is an efficient and convenient way to increase your iron levels quickly and effectively. With Drip Hydration's at-home treatment option, our team will come to your location to administer the IV, whether that be your home or office. You will be able to relax and carry on with your daily activities, while we take care of the rest.
Contact Drip Hydration today and schedule your appointment, our experienced team is here to help you achieve optimal iron levels and improve your overall health.Book Iron IV infusion
Iron IV Infusion - Frequently Asked Questions
What is Iron infusion?
Iron IV Infusion is a therapy where an enriched saline bag with iron and other vitamins is intravenously administered.
Why would a patient need an iron infusion?
Patients typically need an iron infusion to correct low blood iron levels, although infusions may also be given in advance of a medical procedure. There are many potential reasons a patient might have low blood iron, including illness, certain medical conditions, side effects from other treatments, inability to absorb adequate iron from diet or supplements, and more.
How to prepare for an iron infusion
The most significant preparation required for an iron infusion is to ensure you set aside enough time for treatment. Unlike some procedures, there is no need to fast prior to this procedure.
- Iron infusions may take 3 or 4 hours, so bring a book, a game, music or podcasts, a computer, or sit near your TV so you can stay occupied during treatment.
- Eat breakfast, stay hydrated, and take your medication as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may also want to consider having a blanket on hand if you get cold easily.
What happens during an iron infusion?
A nurse will arrive at your location at your appointment time with the necessary equipment for your infusion. They will then administer a test dose via a needle and catheter to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the infusion.
After your test dose, your infusion will begin. This process typically takes several hours. Following your infusion, you can resume activities as normal unless otherwise instructed.
How long does an iron infusion take?
An iron infusion typically takes 3 – 4 hours. Many patients require multiple infusions over time to correct their iron levels. Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your needs.
What are the side effects of iron infusions?
There are several potential side effects of iron infusions. They are typically mild and resolve on their own shortly after treatment.
- Muscle and joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Temporary changes in your taste
- Itchiness and rash
- Increased or decreased blood pressure
- Increased or decreased heart rate
- Redness, swelling, or a burning sensation at the injection site
In addition to these, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to ingredients in the infusion. However, your test dose will help prevent this issue.
Which iron infusion is safest?
The safest iron infusion is administered by a trained and licensed medical professional. Before your treatment, they will administer a test dose to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction to any ingredients in the infusion.
Additionally, safe IV providers will store and handle ingredients and equipment properly to help prevent infections and other complications.
Can you get an iron infusion during pregnancy?
Yes. A doctor may order an iron IV infusion for pregnant women if necessary, typically during the second or third trimester.
What are the risks involved with iron infusion?
Iron infusions are a safe procedure when administered by a licensed and trained healthcare professional. However, iron infusions are a minimally invasive procedure that comes with some potential risks.
Risks of IV treatment in general include:
- Air embolism
- Blood clots
- Vein damage
- Chance of infection at the injection site
In addition to the risks associated with IV treatments, iron infusions may also cause an allergic reaction due to ingredient(s) in the treatment.
Who administers the therapy?
One of our licensed clinicians will perform the Iron IV Therapy.
How quickly does an iron infusion work?
It depends on the patient’s circumstances. Some people feel better shortly after their first infusion. Those who need multiple infusions to correct low iron levels may start feeling better after a week or more.
How long will an iron infusion last?
The iron infusion itself typically takes about three hours to administer. Following treatment, an infusion may last days, weeks, or months depending on individual circumstances.
Are iron infusions painful?
Iron infusions are a largely painless medical procedure. Patients may experience a brief pinching sensation as the needle is inserted into the vein. Some patients report temporary side effects such as headaches and nausea following treatment.
How many times do I need an iron infusion?
The exact number of infusions will depend on your situation. Your doctor will assess your needs and develop a treatment plan to effectively correct low iron levels.
Do iron infusions make you gain weight?
No, iron infusions do not make you gain weight. One study found that infusions actually caused participants to lose weight.
What is the average cost of an iron infusion?
Iron infusions may cost anywhere between $400 to $4000. The exact cost will depend on variables such as the type of iron used, how many infusions you need, where you get treatment, whether your insurance covers treatments, and other factors.
Is an iron infusion better than a blood transfusion?
Both an iron infusion and blood transfusion aim to restore low iron levels, whether due to a medical condition, severe injury, in preparation for surgery, or other reasons. Both methods are effective ways to restore low iron levels.
- A blood transfusion delivers new, donated blood into your body
- An iron infusion contains only iron and saline solution
Your doctor can help determine which is best for your needs.
What iron level requires an iron infusion?
This depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of anemia you have, whether or not you are pregnant, and other factors.
If you notice symptoms of low iron, it’s important to visit a doctor. They will be able to determine whether an iron infusion is right for you.
Can you feel worse after an iron infusion?
There are some minor side effects that can occur during or after an iron infusion, such as headaches, nausea, and muscle aches. However, these are temporary and resolve quickly after treatment, after which you should feel the benefits of normal iron levels.