JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of red blood cells with iron- deficiency anaemia during pregnancy. This most common form of anaemia causes red blood cells (erythrocytes) to vary in shape and size. Anaemia is a reduced level of the oxygen-carrying pigment haemoglobin in the blood. Because iron is an important component of haemoglobin, a deficiency of iron lowers the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. This anaemia is common in women of child- bearing age in which menstrual blood loss lowers the stores of iron in the blood. Pregnancy stops these menstrual losses but is replaced by an even greater drain on iron stores (from the baby). A course of iron tablets can correct this anaemia.
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