Anaemia is a risk during pregnancy, and when you become anaemic (when your haemoglobin levels are too low), you run the risk of having a low birth weight baby, or preterm birth.
Signs of anaemia are pale gums, intense and ongoing fatigue, and the only way to check whether you are, in fact, anaemic, is to have a blood test done.
If you suspect that you may be anaemic, or if you have a history of anaemia, then it’s best to speak to your doctor. If your haemoglobin level is below 13.2g/dL, then your doctor may prescribe iron tablets, or even a course of injections.
It’s best to seek medical advice sooner, rather than later, when you are dealing with anaemia, as a blood iron level that is too low can be life threatening, and in very severe cases, you may even need to have a blood transfusion.
On the other side of the coin, you don’t want to be taking an iron supplement if your iron levels are normal – you also risk having a small for gestational age baby, and you may cause trouble with your blood pressure.
In most cases, a pregnancy diet rich in iron, from green leafy vegetables, liver, red meat and dried fruit is enough to prevent anaemia, however, there is treatment available if that’s not the case