If you are pregnant and have received a diagnosis of anemia, you may be wondering, “What type of anemia is folic acid deficiency? This type of anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid. Vitamin B9 works with the iron in blood to promote cell growth.
Without it, pregnant women are more likely to develop iron deficiency as well. This can lead to several health problems. If left untreated, anemia can lead to conditions like irregular heart rhythms or heart failure, leading to death.
If the deficiency is not addressed or diagnosed early enough, a lower than average amount of folic acid in the body of the pregnant woman could also lead to significant birth defects in the newborn.
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Types of Anemia
When someone is suffering from anemia, he or she has a lower than average number of healthy red blood cells in the bloodstream. Since red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, not having enough red blood cells is a significant health problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a diagnosis of anemia occurs about 2.8 million times per year in the United States. People diagnosed with anemia could have any of several different types of anemia.
Some types of anemia are treatable through improving your diet or through taking supplements. Other times, the victim may need regular medical treatment.
Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
This type of anemia occurs because of a lack of vitamin B9 in the body. Folate naturally occurs in food while folic acid is synthetic, but they provide the same benefits. One reason for this deficiency is not consuming enough folate-rich foods, such as leafy greens and fresh fruits. It can also occur in individual’s with celiac disease or cancer.
However, fetuses during pregnancy also begin to absorb much of the mothers’ folic acid for development, which can increase the likelihood for this deficiency. A lack of enough folic acid throughout the pregnancy can inhibit this fetal development and potentially lead to birth defects.
Other Vitamin Deficiency Anemia
Other types of vitamin deficiencies can lead to a diagnosis of anemia, including vitamin B12 and vitamin C.
These types of anemia have many of the same symptoms as folic acid deficiency anemia, including heart problems, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and weakness.
This type of anemia occurs when the body does not produce new blood cells. It is a condition that could develop at any age and at any time.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
With iron deficiency anemia, the body does not have enough iron, meaning its red blood cells struggle to carry oxygen properly.
Sickle Cell Anemia
This type of anemia is a disease inherited from parents. With this disease, some of the body’s red blood cells have an abnormal shape, making it more difficult to carry sufficient oxygen to the tissues of the body.
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Dangers of Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia for Pregnant Women
One of the most worrisome aspects of folic acid deficiency anemia is when it occurs in a woman who is pregnant. Should doctors not catch the deficiency early enough in the pregnancy, the baby could be born with significant birth defects.
Birth defects related to the lack of folic acid are called neural tube defects. These birth defects frequently include spina bifida and anencephaly.
Anencephaly is a serious birth defect that nearly always leads to the death of the baby soon after birth. If anencephaly occurs, parts of the baby’s brain or skull will not develop in the womb. In some cases, the skin on the head will not grow either, leaving the brain exposed.
This birth defect occurs in about 1 in every 4,600 births in the United States, according to the CDC.
Spina bifida affects the spine and spinal cord of the newborn. With this condition, the neural tube of the spine does not close all of the way while the baby is in the womb, and the spinal cord does not form as it should. This can create damage to the nerves in the body.
The CDC estimates between 3.1 and 3.5 live births per 10,000 each year in the United States have the condition of spina bifida.
Diagnosing Folic Acid Deficiency
Of each type of anemia folic acid deficiency seems to occur most in pregnant women. Since fetuses require folic acid throughout development, it is a potentially dangerous condition that may lead to birth defects.
Due to the dangers of folic acid deficiency anemia to the unborn baby, doctors treating pregnant women must be on the lookout for this condition early on. They need to watch for the symptoms of this issue throughout the pregnancy and advise the pregnant woman about the need to maintain a high level of vitamin B9 through food and supplements.
If you gave birth to a baby with a neural tube birth defect, it may have occurred because of folic acid deficiency anemia. If so, you may be able to seek damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who failed to warn you of this condition, or who failed to diagnose your condition quickly enough.
Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 today for a free review of your case. Our team is ready to defend your rights to receive compensation, and we will work on your behalf to secure it.