Sickle Cell Anemia, Pregnancy and
Sickle Cell Anemia Vitamin Deficiency disease
Sickle cell anaemia is a condition that affects the red blood cells and is most commonly found in people of African origin. It is so called because the red blood cells, which carry oxygen, are shaped like sickles instead of their usual disc like shape. Women who are pregnant with sickle cell have more frequent sickle cell crises due to the extra stress of pregnancy. A sickle crisis will occur in about a third of pregnancies.
When there is a shortage of oxygen or when there is an infection in the body, the red blood cells clump together and so prevent the smooth flow of blood. As well as causing chronic anaemia, it can cause bone pain, kidney upset and lung problems. It may also increase the risk of thrombosis (blood clots). A blood test can check whether you have sickle cell anaemia or sickle cell trait. At the first visit, a pregnant woman with sickle cell should have the following tests: complete blood count, reticulocyte count, hemoglobin electrophoresis (for her partner as well), liver function tests, hepatitis B and C, blood group and antibody typing, rubella antibodies, syphilis test.
Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disorder and so can be inherited. If your parents have the sickle cell gene then you may either be affected or be a carrier (sickle cell trait). If you receive a sickle cell gene from both your parents you will be affected. If you receive a sickle cell gene from one parent and a normal gene from your other parent, then you will carry the sickle cell trait. If you carry the trait you will not usually develop anaemia, but you will be more prone to kidney and bladder infections. Sickle cells are destroyed rapidly in the body of people with the disease causing anemia, jaundice and the formation of gallstones.
Will Sickle Cell Anemia Disease affect baby development
Sickle cell anaemia can be associated with premature birth and low birthweight babies. The baby may also be affected if it inherits the sickle cell gene. You will need folic acid supplements and sometimes blood transfusion. Iron supplements are not routinely required and are only given when your iron stores are low. You will need specialist antenatal care and treatment has to be tailored to each individual woman's needs. You should discuss this problem with your Doctor before becoming pregnant.
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