Tests before pregnancy:HemoglobinWhat is anemia and how does is it treated?
The protein in red blood cells (RBCs) that gives blood its red color is called hemoglobin. It binds to oxygen in your lungs, transports it throughout the body, and releases it to the cells and tissues. During pregnancy, a woman`s hemoglobin needs to transport enough oxygen to meet both her and her baby`s needs. If a woman does not have enough hemoglobin, she is said to be anemic. Many pregnant women will experience some degree of anemia. Anemia can be caused by decreased RBC production, increased RBC destruction, or by increased RBC (blood) loss.
Mild anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Severe anemia can cause you to lose consciousness and in extreme cases can cause death. Anemia in a pregnant mother can cause a developing baby to receive too little oxygen to support normal development. To prevent these problems, the hemoglobin level of a woman`s blood will be checked prior to pregnancy, at the beginning of pregnancy, and one or more times during pregnancy. The first baseline concentrations will be compared to later values to look for changes that could indicate increasing anemia.
Often a hemoglobin will be run as part of a Complete Blood count (CBC). The CBC also measures the actual number of RBCs, the number and type of white blood cells (WBCs), the number of platelets (cell fragments involved in blood clotting), and the hematocrit (the amount of solids versus liquids in the blood). This will be done with a needle by drawing a sample of blood from a vein in your arm.
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. Vitamin deficiency, kidney disease, inherited hemoglobin disorders, and other illnesses can also cause anemia. It is also possible to have a higher than normal hemoglobin level. This is usually caused by dehydration, but may also result from a variety of diseases. Treatment for the unexpected hemoglobin level will depend upon the medical cause of the problem. Comments: Tests before pregnancy - Hemoglobin
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