Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Check the mother’s body
Check for signs of anemia
Healthy signs General good health and plenty of energy.
Wa r nin g s ig n s
• Pale inside of eyelids, fingernails, and gums.
• Dizziness or fainting.
• Weakness or tiredness.
• Fast pulse (over 100 beats a minute).
• Difficulty breathing.
There is also a blood test for anemia.
When someone has anemia, it usually means she has not been able to eat
enough foods with iron (see page 36). Iron helps the blood carry oxygen from the
air we breathe to all parts of the body. Some kinds of anemia are caused by illness,
not lack of iron. And some kinds of anemia are inherited (genetic). They cannot be
cured by eating iron foods or iron pills.
Many pregnant women have anemia, especially poor women. Women with
anemia have less strength for childbirth and are more likely to bleed heavily,
become ill after childbirth, or even die.
How to treat anemia
Ordinary anemia can usually
be cured by eating foods
high in iron (like beans, yams
and meat) and foods high in
vitamin C (like citrus fruits and
tomatoes), and by taking iron
supplements. After using these
methods, the mother should be checked again in about 4 weeks. If she is not
getting better, get medical advice. She may have an illness, or she may just need
a stronger iron supplement.
To treat anemia with iron supplements
• give 300 to 325 mg ferrous sulfate ������������������������������by mouth, 2 times a day
If a woman is very anemic in the 9th month of pregnancy, she should plan to
have her baby in a medical center.
A Book for Midwives (2010)