Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
What do you need to know about anemia during pregnancy?
The wonder and joy of pregnancy is matched by the body's ability to adapt to looking after the growing baby. In addition to the mother's physiologic needs, there is the additional need to provide the building blocks to optimally grow baby. All this construction requires energy and oxygen as the fuel that helps drive the engine.
Oxygen in the air that we breathe is delivered to the cells of the body by hemoglobin, a protein molecule found in red blood cells. The normal ranges for hemoglobin depend on the age and, beginning in adolescence, the gender of the person.
For example, the normal ranges of hemoglobins for background comparison are:
Anemia is a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Anemia is a relatively normal finding in pregnancy. Plasma is the watery, noncellular component of blood. In pregnancy, there is an increase in plasma volume of the blood in order to help supply oxygen and nutrients to mother and baby. There can be a 20% increase in the total number of red blood cells but the amount of plasma increases even more causing dilution of those red cells in the body. A hemoglobin level of pregnancy can naturally lower to 10.5 gm/dL representing a normal anemia of pregnancy.