Science & Tech

The Relationship Between Anaemia and Maternal Health

  • Recent discussions in India have been on anaemia, with debates centred on the measurement and control of haemoglobin levels.
  • The WOMAN-2 trial collaborators released a study in The Lancet highlighting the role of anaemia in postpartum haemorrhage and urging India to make educated policy decisions.
  • Anaemia affects a large number of women worldwide and is connected with a high death risk in situations of postpartum haemorrhage.

What exactly is anaemia?

  • Anaemia is a medical disorder characterised by a decrease in the number of red blood cells or a lack of haemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen throughout the body.
  • This disorder can impair the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to tissues and organs.
  • Anaemia symptoms might vary based on the underlying cause and severity of the disorder.

However, some common anaemia symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and weakness: A frequent sign of anaemia is fatigue and a lack of energy. This happens because the tissues and organs of the body do not receive adequate oxygen.
  • Shortness of breath: Because the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity is diminished, people with Anaemia may have trouble breathing, especially during physical exercise or effort.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat: The heart may beat rapidly or erratically in an attempt to compensate for a lack of oxygen. This symptom is more obvious during physical activity or when the person is at rest.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness: Anaemia can reduce blood supply to the brain, resulting in dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Cold hands and feet: A decrease in blood flow can cause a sensation of coldness in the extremities, particularly the hands and feet.
  • Headaches: Some people with anaemia may have regular headaches as a result of a diminished oxygen flow to the brain.

What is the relationship between anaemia and maternal risks?

  • Complication risk: Anaemia during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and maternal mortality.
  • Anaemia can produce tiredness, making it difficult for pregnant women to meet physical demands.
  • Preeclampsia: Anaemia has been related to an increased risk of developing preeclampsia, a hazardous illness.
  • Postpartum haemorrhage: Anaemia raises the risk of postpartum haemorrhage.
  • Impaired immunological function: Because anaemia impairs the immune system, pregnant women are more vulnerable to infections.
  • A deficit in iron Anaemia is common during pregnancy and can have a detrimental influence on both mother and foetal health.

The Relationship Between Anaemia and Postpartum Haemorrhage

  • The global anaemia burden is as follows: Anaemia affects almost half a billion women of reproductive age globally.
  • Anaemia increases the risk of postpartum haemorrhage, a common cause of maternal death, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
  • WOMAN-2 test: The study looked at the relationship between prenatal haemoglobin levels and the risk of postpartum haemorrhage in women from Pakistan, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The WOMAN-2 Trial Results

  • Relationship that is ongoing: Lower haemoglobin levels were linked to more blood loss and clinical postpartum haemorrhage.
  • Influence on maternal function: Women with anaemia have lower oxygen-carrying ability, which can result in shock even with small blood loss volumes.
  • Anaemia severity: Severe anaemia was related with a greater risk of death or near-miss occurrences than moderate anaemia.

Recommendations and Preventive Measures

  • Preventive treatment: Preventing and treating anaemia in women of reproductive age should be prioritised.
  • Existing initiatives: To combat anaemia, the Indian government gives iron and folic acid supplements, particularly to adolescent females.
  • Challenges and mission-mode strategy: Rising levels of anaemia in India necessitate a more aggressive public health approach to tackle the problem.
  • Cultural and social considerations: For accurate haemoglobin testing, public health programmes should incorporate cultural attitudes and preferences around blood draws.
  • Considerations for outreach programmes: A thorough grasp of cultural and social realities is critical to the effectiveness of anaemia prevention campaigns.

@the end

The WOMAN-2 trial emphasizes the importance of anaemia in postpartum hemorrhage, urging India’s policymakers to use evidence-based guidelines, focus on prevention, treatment, and community engagement.

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