Hookworm and malaria can cause anemia
Women with hookworm are likely to have anemia. Hookworm can
easily be treated with mebendazole or albendazole, though these drugs
should not be taken in the first 3 months of pregnancy. These drugs
have not been tested enough to be sure that they are safe for women who
are in the later months of pregnancy or who are breastfeeding. However,
most doctors believe that the benefit of treating hookworm is greater
than the possible harm of these medicines.
If hookworm is common in your community, ask your local health
authority what treatment is recommended for pregnant women.
Malaria can also cause anemia and other serious problems in
pregnancy. See page 98 for how to prevent or treat malaria.
Folic acid (folate)
Lack of folic acid can cause anemia in the mother and severe birth defects in the
baby. To prevent these problems, it is most important for a woman to get enough
folic acid before she gets pregnant and in the first few months of pregnancy.
These foods contain a lot of folic acid:
• dark green leafy vegetables
• meat (especially liver, kidney,
and other organ meats)
• whole grains (brown rice,
• peas and beans
• sunflower, pumpkin, and
Some women also take folic acid pills.
Folic acid pills
• take 0.5 to 0.8 mg (500 to 800 mcg) folic acid.........by mouth, 1 time each day
A growing baby needs a lot of calcium to
make new bones, especially in the last few
months of pregnancy. Women need
calcium for strong bones and teeth.
A Book for Midwives (2010)