I have iron-deficiency anemia. How will it affect my baby?

I have iron-deficiency anemia. How will it affect my baby?

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Will my anemia affect my baby's development?

If your iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) is under control, your baby's development will likely not be affected by your condition. Most of the more serious problems associated with anemia only occur when the condition is untreated for a long time and becomes severe.

By taking iron supplements during pregnancy, you not only treat your anemia, but may also reduce the risks to your baby. Iron supplements can help to improve your baby's iron levels too, which in turn helps to reduce the chance your baby develops iron-deficiency anemia.

However, problems could occur if your iron levels aren't corrected during pregnancy.

Severe anemia in the first two trimesters is linked to an increased risk that your baby may be born with a low birth weight. Your healthcare provider tests for anemia at your first prenatal appointment and will treat it if necessary.

Does my anemia put my baby at risk of other complications?

Possibly, yes, although the risk is thought to be low unless anemia is severe. Anemia is associated with increased risks of certain problems, like giving birth early.

Severe anemia can also increase the risk of stillbirth and even newborn death. Since many women with anemia don't even realize they have it, it’s important to find out what your iron levels are.

If you have mild anemia and taking supplements successfully raises your iron levels, then it's unlikely either you or your baby will have complications from IDA.

Will my baby need extra care after he's born?

If your baby was born preterm or with a low birth weight, he may need to spend some time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Preterm or low-birth weight babies have a higher risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia. However, your baby's anemia may not be related to yours: Preemies tend not to have as much iron stored in their bodies as larger, full-term babies. Your child's doctor may test your baby's blood to check for iron-deficiency anemia.

If your baby is preterm or low-birth weight, he may need to be given additional iron. Although breastmilk and iron-enriched formula contain essential iron, your baby may need more iron than he can drink. If your baby needs it, he'll be given additional iron in the form of drops.

Will my baby suffer any long-term effects from my anemia?

It's understandable to worry about whether your anemia could have any long-term effects on your baby. But if your anemia is mild and under control, your baby is unlikely to suffer any long-term effects at all.

A few small studies suggest a baby born to a mother with severe, untreated anemia may be slower to develop physically and mentally. However, it's relatively rare for women in the United States to have untreated, severe anemia.

You can give your unborn baby a good start in life by attending all your prenatal appointments and working with your healthcare provider to manage your anemia. Take iron supplements as prescribed and eat plenty of iron-rich foods.

Visit the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's website for more information and to find an MFM specialist near you.

Watch the video: Health: Iron deficiency in children, symptoms and cure (June 2022).

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