Fieldset
Anemia and Pregnancy

The woman is pregnant, maybe 7 months. She has the most beautiful face. Her baby is lying sideways instead of head down or bottom down. If the baby is still in this position at the onset of labor, the woman will need a Caesarian Section to save her life and that of her baby.

The woman is pregnant, maybe 7 months. She has the most beautiful face. Her baby is lying sideways instead of head down or bottom down. If the baby is still in this position at the onset of labor, the woman will need a Caesarian Section to save her life and that of her baby.

But this is not the problem today. The woman has severe anemia; her hemoglobin is only 3 g/dl. Normal hemoglobin would be about 12 g/dl. The inside of her lower eye-lid is almost pure white; the palms of her hands are pale.

If she enters labor with hemoglobin of 3 g/dl, she will probably not survive. She will die of hemorrhage or heart failure.

Anemia in pregnancy is a huge problem for women in developing countries. The causes of anemia are protean: iron deficient diets, malaria parasites that destroy red blood cells, many pregnancies without a sufficient interval between them.

Without a blood transfusion, this mother's prospects are grim. We start the process of finding a blood donor among her relatives.