Monday, May 24, 2010

Low hemoglobin count in my red blood cells..

This is the second time that I went for my antenatal check up and my hemoglobin count appeared too low for a carrying mum. Yes, and this time it is lower than before, the reading was 10.4gm/dl instead of 10.6gm/dl the previous month. I was OK during my first trimester in which the hemoglobin was 11.7gm/dl.

To tell you the truth, I didn't know how to react at first when the doctor told me my 'blood was too low' and highlighted the 'Hgb' from my blood test. I am obviously clueless about science and human biology. Bodo gila kan. Even after the doctor followed her sentence with, 'It means you can't pump enough oxygen to your baby, and may cause premature birth and many other complication..This is the reason why you always feel tired, like you're lack of rest all the time. Be careful because this situation may cause you to faint when you are too tired.' I was still clueless. And this woman did not bother to ask the doctor any further. Don't ask me why.

But as I was walking towards hubby, I started thinking what if it gets worse, and what will be the effect to my little one? She is the only one I am concerned about. I obviously care for myself more when I think about this little person inside of me. Therefore I demanded some reading for myself. Just a little bit more knowledge doesn't hurt, I thought to myself. And so I figured out the things below…


What is hemoglobin:
It is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs (Source:)

What is a normal hemoglobin level:
Hemoglobin level differs depending on age, gender, etc. But the normal range are:
•Newborns: 17-22 gm/dl
•One (1) week of age: 15-20 gm/dl
•One (1) month of age: 11-15gm/dl
•Children: 11-13 gm/dl
•Adult males: 14-18 gm/dl
•Adult women: 12-16 gm/dl
•Men after middle age: 12.4-14.9 gm/dl
•Women after middle age: 11.7-13.8 gm/dl

What are the common causes of low hemoglobin:
•loss of blood (traumatic injury, surgery, bleeding colon cancer or stomach ulcer),
•nutritional deficiency (iron, vitamin B12, folate),
•bone marrow problems (replacement of bone marrow by cancer,
•suppression by chemotherapy drugs,
•kidney failure), and
•abnormal hemoglobin (sickle cell anemia).

How to increase hemoglobin to the ideal level :

In case of iron deficiency:
• Take iron supplements
• Food rich in iron (Food from animal sources are more beneficial in increasing hemoglobin levels than that from plant sources. E.g: Shell fish, chicken,liver, beef, red meat,turkey, fish, etc are good sources of iron. Eggs, dark vegetables, green leaves, dried fruits, nuts and beans are also rich in iron.

Interestingly enough, I also found that there are some food items which can affect iron absorption. They are tea, coffee, foods rich in fiber, foods with high levels of calcium like milk, cheese, chocolate, caffeinated drinks and some medicines with phosphates and antacids.

It was also found that taking vitamin C supplements along with food rich in vitamin C along with treatment of iron deficiency helps increase the absorption of iron.

Great information, right? Now my goal is to ensure that my hemoglobin level increases in one month! Wouldn’t want anything to harm my baby!

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