A woman undergoing an abortion, or termination of a pregnancy, can have significant physical as well as emotional effects on her health. Abortion can occur naturally or it can be performed in many situations, e.g., in case of a contraceptive failure, either by giving medicines or by surgery.
One ot the commonest side effects of any of the above is ANAEMIA, which can cause many problems if left untreated.
Anaemia occurs when the haemoglobin levels in the body fall below normal (12 g/dl). Haemoglobin is a prolem present in the red blood cells (RBCs) and is required to carry oxygen from the lungs to the different organs and cells of the body.
Anaemia after undergoing an abortion is common, the main reason being that the woman has lost a substantial amount of blood. This, along with the associated psychological pressure and physical pain, leaves the body relatively weak post-abortion. Hence, it is very important that the woman, who has recently undergone an abortion, should pay attention to restoring the lost energy and strength.
Since losing blood is one of te signs that the abortion has occured, the amount of blood lost also suggests the degree of risk of anaemia to the woman. This risk is increased to a greater extent if the woman was anaemic before she got pregnant. Post abortion, just when the body needs so much more attention and care, anaemia leads to the following.
Because there is a decrease in the ability to absorb oxygen from the lungs, serious problems can occur in prolonged and severe anaemia that is not treated, such as organ dysfunction or damage.
The anaemia is primarily because of iron deficiency associated with blood loss or as a result of folic acid or other vitamin deficiencies and, hence, needs to be addressed accordingly.
- Diet plays a very important role in the management of anaemia.
- The patient should have a diet rich in iron and other minerals, protiens and vitamins.
- She should drink plenty of fluids, e.g, water, juices, coconut water, etc.
- She should incorporate a lot of fruits and vegetables in the diet as a source of essential minerals and vitamins that will help regain lost energy and increase the number of RBCs.
- It is also very important to incorporate vitamin C in the diet; this helps the body absorb iron. Some sources of vitamin C are oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc.
- She should avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks, e.g, tea, coffee, cola, etc, and eating junk food as it may interfere with iron absorption.
- Some foods that are rich sources of nutrients are as below:
- Vegetarian source: Jaggery, milk, nuts, cheese, yoghurt, kidney beans, lentils, corn, beet, cabbage, dried fruits, sprouts, spinach, etc.
- Non-vegetarian source: Chicken liver, lamb, clamps, shrimp, eggs, fish etc.
Depending on whether the anaemia is mild or moderate, there may be a need to take iron and/or multivitamin supplements after consulting the doctor. In case of severe anaemia, the doctor may also suggest intravenous or intramuscular iron injections.
- Lifestyle Modifications
- The patient should exercise daily to help manage fatigue. The doctor needs to be consulted as to when one can start exercising since it has to be avoided for a minimum of 2 weeks after an abortion. Yoga and medications may help and it is to start with.
- If possible, she should try to reduce the workload.
- If the patient smokes or drinks alcohol, she should avoid it completely.
- the patient should de-stress by investing free time in doing things she likes the most, e.g, taking a walk, sleeping, reading, listening to music, etc.
Please consult your doctor to know more about the right kind of medicines and nutrition for you.