A gynaecologist, Dr Adebayo Sekumade, on Friday urged the Federal and State Governments to create awareness on appropriate nutrition for women to reduce the high rate of anaemia in pregnancy.
Sekumade, President, Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, told our reporter in Lagos that anaemia caused most cases of maternal mortality.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiologic needs.
“Its occurrence in humans varies by age, sex, altitude, nutrition, smoking, and pregnancy status.’’
Sekumade said, “Anaemia in pregnancy can be prevented through a public health awareness that emphasise appropriate nutrition for the girl-child and young females.
“Government should ensure that all health facilities sensitise mothers and guardians in adopting a healthy diet rich in iron for their girl-child.
“If this can be inculcated right before they get to the productive age of 15 to 49 years, it will help to reduce the possibility of pregnant women being anaemic.’’
He urged pregnant women to enroll early in the hospitals and ensure regular visit for antenatal care and need for proper nutrition in pregnancy and early diagnosis of anaemia.
According to him, anaemia in pregnancy has a significant impact on health of the foetus and the mother.
“Anaemia in pregnancy is very common in our environment because of the high level of malnutrition, and it is associated with complications in pregnancy.
“During pregnancy, the body produces more blood to support the growth of the baby.
“However, if the body is not getting enough iron or nutrients, it might not be able to produce the amount of red blood cells needed to make this additional blood.
“This can later lead to anaemia and cause different complications,’’ the gynaecologist explained.
He said that in the first trimester of pregnancy, anaemia could cause urinary tract infection.
Sekumade said that it was also associated with intrauterine growth restriction in the second trimester.
He said, “Intrauterine growth restriction is a condition in which an unborn baby was smaller than it should be as it was not growing at a normal rate inside the womb.’’
Sekumade said that this puts the baby at risk of certain health problems during pregnancy, delivery and after.
“In the third trimester, it causes premature labour and delivery, which is very dangerous to the health of both the infant and the mother,’’ the expert said.