Complications during pregnancy
Not all pregnancies go to plan. Pregnancy are often a time of pleasure and anticipation but some women may experience complications like bleeding during their pregnancy or high vital sign which may be an indication of pre-eclampsia. Other complications may include itching or severe vomiting during pregnancy.
What are red blood cells?
Red blood cells are cells in your blood. Their main role is to carry oxygen from your heart to the rest of your body – your brain, your muscles, your skin, your kidneys and all else. Red blood cells are produced in bone marrow. They contain a protein known as hemoglobin, which is vital for carrying oxygen.
We need enough iron, vitamin B12 and folate to produce all the hemoglobin we need.
Why do pregnant women become anaemic?
Your body changes during pregnancy to look after your growing baby. Your body needs to make more blood when you are pregnant. The average woman will have about 5L of blood when not pregnant, compared to 7 to 8L of blood near the end of the pregnancy.
Making the extra blood cells requires plenty of iron, vitamin B12 and folate to make all the extra haemoglobin needed. Iron deficiency is the main cause of anaemia during pregnancy. You need 3 times as much iron when you are pregnant than when you are menstruating, and your iron requirements increase throughout the pregnancy.
Unfortunately, iron is hard to absorb, which makes haemoglobin hard to make. So many women become anaemic during pregnancy unless they take iron supplements.
What are the tests for anaemia?
You would usually have a blood test around the time you first see a doctor or midwife about your pregnancy to check your hemoglobin level and blood cells. If this test shows any abnormality, your doctor might also order tests to check your levels of iron, vitamin B12 and folate, and genetic tests for inherited disorders such as thalassemia.
What are the risks if I am anaemic while pregnant?
Anaemia not only makes you feel more tired and breathless, it can increase the likelihood of you needing a blood transfusion after your baby is born. It may also increase the risk of your baby being born early or at a low birth weight, and of your baby being anaemic after birth.
Bleeding during pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy is comparatively common and doesn’t always mean there's a drag . However, if you have bleeding from the vagina at any time in pregnancy, you should always contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
Bleeding is not often caused by something serious, but it’s very important to make sure and to find out the cause straight away. Contact your doctor or midwife if you notice bleeding from your vagina at any time during your pregnancy.
In early pregnancy you might get some light bleeding, called ‘spotting’, when the fetus plants itself in the wall of your womb. This is also known as ‘implantation bleeding’ and often happens around the time that your first period after conception would have been due.
Itching during pregnancy
Mild itching is common in pregnancy due to the increased blood supply to the skin. As your pregnancy progresses and as your baby grows, the skin of your abdomen is stretched and this might also feel itchy.
Wearing loose clothes may help prevent itching, as your clothes are less likely to rub against your skin and cause irritation. You may also want to avoid synthetic materials and choose natural fabrics such as cotton that allow the air to circulate close to your skin. You may find that having a cool bath or applying lotion or moisturizer can help to soothe the itching.
Some women find that products with strong perfumes can irritate their skin, so you'll try using plain lotion or soap. Mild itching is not usually harmful to you or your baby, but it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. If you’re worried, or if you have severe itching, it’s important to see your midwife or doctor.
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