Undoubtedly, many women suffer from anemia globally. Almost 32 million pregnant women are affected by this worldwide which includes almost 50% of all pregnant women in low and middle-income families. Now, anemia is becoming a threat to such pregnant women who face the risk of death, according to new studies. Increased iron deficiency rates, genetic blood disorders, nutrition deficiencies and infections such as malaria, HIV and hookworm are few reasons for anemia primarily affecting women in low- and middle-income countries.
Every pregnant woman is tested for her blood cells count during pregnancy and this study shows that when such women develop severe anemia at any point during pregnancy or within a week after delivery, they are at a higher risk of dying. This study is one of the most versatile ones conducted using WHO data of more than 3 lakh pregnancies across 29 countries. Of the lot, 4,189 women had severe anemia (blood count less than 70 grams/liter blood) and was compared with the data of 8,218 women without severe anemia.
While earlier studies conducted could not conclude whether anemia was the reason for death of the maternal woman or there were other contributing factors, this study proves that when all other factors are controlled the risk of maternal death due to anemia is doubled. Also, the data collected was from different geographical locations and social environment using different statistical approaches and the results prove that there is a strong link between severe anemia and maternal death beyond all these factors.
Developing Countries Pose Greater Risk
In most cases, pregnant women face a greater risk of anemia as they are in a position to fulfill the nutrient needs of the fetus along with their own needs. Developing countries face a greater risk of malnutrition and deaths due to the same profoundly. When providing basic nutrition is questionable, there is 100% chance for anemia to hit most pregnant women in these countries.
People generally assume that giving iron supplements can solve the problem as pregnant women mostly suffer from iron-deficient anemia. But, if iron tablets can solve the problem, why do we still talk about it and even further, about death due to anemia? It is always better to nourish your body with nutrients from food instead of relying on supplements and other external factors. Equip your body with healthy foods rich in iron and for the complete list of iron-rich foods, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Developing countries often lack proper healthcare facilities and trained nurses who are completely aware of the problem at hand and can provide first-hand solutions for the same. According to WHO, almost 99% of the deaths among pregnant women happen in developing countries. Nigeria (58,000) and India (45,000) contribute to one-thirds of the world’s total maternal deaths (2015).
This shows the strong need to take up anemia as a major health problem and treat it with vigor worldwide, especially in developing countries. There is clear evidence that the present solutions are not working out properly and there is dire need to rework on better programs and methods.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.