|Anemia during pregnancy occurs when there is less than the normal amount of red blood cells circulating in the blood. Although most women experience anemia to some degree during pregnancy, it isn't usually harmful. Anemias resulting from hereditary abnormalities in hemoglobin, however, increase the risk of illness in the pregnant woman and may cause illness and/or even death in the newborn.|
The most common anemia of pregnancy is dilutional anemia, which is due to relatively large increases in extracellular fluid volume in comparison to the increase in red blood cell production that occurs as a normal effect of pregnancy. Another type of anemia that can complicate pregnancy is iron deficiency anemia. Because the pregnant woman must produce enough red blood cells to supply the fetus as well as herself, more iron is needed during pregnancy. Although iron deficiency anemia is usually caused by a nutritional deficiency during pregnancy, it can also be the result of a pre-existing iron deficiency condition caused by the loss of iron during menstrual periods, or from a previous pregnancy. Unless nutritional intake of iron is supplemented during pregnancy, the woman will be deficient in iron stores at the time of delivery placing her at risk of requiring a blood transfusion if postpartum bleeding occurs. Anemia during pregnancy can also result from a diet deficient in folic acid, which is the B vitamin needed to produce red blood cells.
An increased risk for developing anemia during pregnancy is associated with women who have several pregnancies relatively close to each other, women carrying more than one fetus (multiple gestation), women who are unable to eat well because of vomiting or nausea, and poor nutrition.
Incidence and Prevalence: Approximately 20% of women are anemic during pregnancy ("Anemia").
Source: Medical Disability Advisor