Anemia in the mother during pregnancy increases the chance of anemia in the child.
Babies born to mothers suffering from anemia during pregnancy are at an increased risk of childhood anemia, as per the results of a study conducted in rural India.
Anemia is defined as lower than normal levels of hemoglobin in blood. It is a serious public health issue. A study published in ploS One revealed that it is a prevalent rate as high as 47% among women who are not pregnant and 52% in women who are pregnant in South and South-East Asian countries, including India. Anemia can cause weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeats or shortness of breath, and dizziness.
The most recent study, published in November, in BMJ Open The study concludes that anemia in women during pregnancy does not cause delays in development or increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases among children.
Esther Heesemann, a researcher at the University of Mannheim, Germany and one of the authors, says that pregnancy anemia is widespread in middle and low-income countries. “Many women are malnourished and do not receive enough nutrition to overcome their deficiencies throughout. The strong link between anemia among pregnant women and anemia of their offspring is very worrisome.”
She suggests that the public health system ensures that every woman receives antenatal treatment (evidence-based medical treatment for women during pregnancy) to avoid intergenerational transitions to poor health.
Researchers have concluded that an increase in the incidence of anemia during pregnancy could be an indication of a fragile nutritional status for many pregnant women across the globe. Anemia is a leading cause in low- and middle-income countries such as India. Anemia can be caused by deficiencies in vitamin A as well as vitamin B12, and folic acid.
The study shows that low hemoglobin levels in pregnancy is a known risk factor for premature birth and low birth weight and death. This refers to the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body.
The researchers looked at nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs from 140 villages of the Madhepura district located in Bihar, India. They evaluated the impact of anemia during pregnancy on the development of infants and toddlers growth, child growth, levels of hemoglobin in the child and incidence of infectious diseases.
They discovered that hemoglobin levels in pregnant women and children were closely related to each the other. Children born to severely and moderately anemic mothers had lower levels of hemoglobin than children born to healthy mothers.
Agnimita GiriSarkar is a pediatrician working at the Institute of Child Health in Kolkata, India. She informs SciDev.Net the study was crucial because it discovered the connection between infant anemia and maternal anemia. “If appropriate measures are taken during pregnancy to fight anemia during pregnancy, we can reduce anemia in infants,” she says.
Sarkar says that anemia in pregnancy can be a risk factor for prematurity or low birth weight. This is the reason why mothers with anemia may give birth to babies who have different medical issues in their early childhood.
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