Diagnosis & Treatment of Anemia In Pregnancy
Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms and laboratory tests. The following laboratory tests are conducted-
- Complete Blood Count. If the woman is anemic, subsequent testing is based on whether the MCV is low (< 79 fL) or high (> 100 fL)
- Hematocrit value (measures % of RBCs in the plasma)
- Evaluation may also include –
- serum ferritin testing (for iron deficiency)
- hemoglobin electrophoresis(for hemoglobinopathies)
- serum Folate and B12 levels
Generally, women are tested at least twice during pregnancy for anemia -
- Usually at the beginning of pregnancy
- Again around 28 weeks
It is not a good time to test for iron deficiency between 24-32weeks. At this point the body undergoes a large surge in blood volume, and it takes a while for all the levels to reach a balance. So if the tests are conducted during this time frame, it might not be reliable. A retest should be done around 34 - 36 weeks.
Treatment - The main aim is to reverse the anemia and to build sufficient iron stores in the body. Oral therapy is the first line of treatment. If the patient is unable to tolerate oral medications parenteral therapy is opted. Transfusion is indicated in cases with severe symptoms.Iron supplemets are given during pregnancy to cope with anemia.