A doctor may caution you about your nutrition during pregnancy because folic acid deficiency anemia is a serious risk during pregnancy. If the mother does not have enough folic acid in her system prior to the pregnancy, the fetus will also be starved for folic acid. Folic acid is needed for the creation of red and white blood cells, as well as other development needs of the fetus. Without this vitamin, the fetus may develop congenital disabilities.
It is important to eat the right kinds of foods or take the proper supplements to help you avoid significant complications related to folic acid deficiency. It is also important for your doctor to keep an eye out for this health problem, catching it early, and beginning treatment as soon as possible. Doctors need to warn their pregnant patients about the dangers of this problem early in the pregnancy.
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Understanding Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
When a person has a lack of vitamin B9 (also called folate) in the body, this illness could appear. Folate is a necessary part of the process of how the body makes new red blood cells.
Without enough red blood cells in your bloodstream, your body will not be as efficient at carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. A condition with a below-average number of red blood cells is called anemia. Early symptoms of anemia are weakness and fatigue.
The Need for Folic Acid Supplements
The body does not store excess vitamin B9, which means you should have an intake of vitamin B9 every day. When a woman is pregnant, the fetus has needs for vitamin B9, which means the mother needs a higher intake of vitamin B9 than normal to maintain the appropriate levels.
How to Increase Vitamin B9
Folate is the naturally occurring vitamin. Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, and it delivers nearly all of the same benefits as folate.
Taking supplements that contain folic acid is a good way to increase your vitamin B9 level in your blood. Foods like fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables contain vitamin B9 too.
When you visit a doctor early on in your pregnancy, he or she should advise you on how to remain healthy during the pregnancy, and part of this advice should involve maintaining the proper level of nutrients. The doctor may recommend that you take folic acid supplements.
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Risks of Vitamin B9 Deficiency
If you do not have enough folic acid or vitamin B9 in your body, you may notice a few symptoms, including:
- Excessive fatigue
- Excessive weakness
- Mouth sores
- Swollen tongue
Risks of Anemia
If your vitamin B9 deficiency is not corrected, you could begin to develop signs of anemia. Some of these symptoms include:
- Excessive fatigue
- Excessive weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
If anemia goes untreated, it can result in significant heart problems, including a rapid or irregular heartbeat that can eventually cause heart failure and death.
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Risks of Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia During Pregnancy
A lack of folic acid in pregnant women increases the chance of neural tube defects in the newborn, which are congenital disabilities that affect the brain, spinal cord, and spine of the baby, including anencephaly and spina bifida.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study estimated that an average of 1,645 babies are born with spina bifida in the United States every year.
In regards to anencephaly, the CDC estimates about 1 in every 4,600 babies is born with this condition every year in the United States.
Additional Risks to the Newborn
Some fetuses cannot absorb folic acid properly while in the womb, which can lead to additional risks during pregnancy. This condition is called megaloblastic anemia, where the red blood cells are larger than normal and misshapen, possibly causing brain development problems.
Guarding Against Complications in Pregnancy
Should your doctor diagnose you with this issue, you may be wondering, is folic acid deficiency anemia a serious risk during pregnancy? Although it is a significant risk if it goes untreated, as long as the doctor catches the issue early enough, it can be treated.
Recovery from this condition is fairly routine, as long as the doctor begins treatment quickly. In the majority of the cases, the mother has no long term health problems after a successful treatment for folic acid deficiency anemia.
If you believe your doctor misdiagnosed your folic acid deficiency or did not recommend that you to take supplements, which led to congenital disabilities or other complications for your baby, you have the right to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 today for a free consultation.