When the number of red blood cells in the blood is low, the condition is called anemia (anaemia). It is easily detectedin a complete blood report, which is a routine investigation in pregnancy. It is important to prevent or treat anemia in pregnancy.
Usually, a woman becomes anemic because her body has less than normal iron. Iron is a mineral that is a constituent of red blood cells. The daily required iron goes up from 18 mg to 27 mg in pregnancy. This can be achieved either by eating an iron rich diet or by taking prenatal vitamins with iron or iron supplements.
Although baby is unlikely to be at risk except in severe anemia, iron deficiency leads to an increased risk of preterm labour and lower birth weight. Anemia is also one of the reasons for fatigue and tiredness in pregnancy. WHO estimates indicate that nearly 35-75 per cent of pregnant women in India are anaemic.
In a planned pregnancy it is good to improve your eating habits by including iron rich foods in your diet, which help to stock up the iron stores. Otherwise, you can start eating a diet rich in iron when your pregnancy is confirmed. Your blood will be tested for anemia during your first visit and then in the second trimester and third trimester.