Anemia of Prematurity
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Loss of blood due to:
- Complications during labor and birth
- Removal of blood for testing—regular blood tests are needed to monitor premature babies’ health
Decreased production of RBCs due to:
- Nutrition problems
- Certain infections like rubella or parvovirus that affect the bone marrow where RBCs are made
Destruction of RBCs may occur with medical conditions such as:
- Incompatibility between mother’s and baby’s blood—Rh incompatibility
- Hereditary disorders
- Production of RBCs temporarily slows down in all newborns right after birth—greater effect in premature babies
- Blood volume can’t keep up with baby’s growth
- RBCs have a shorter lifespan in infants compared to adults
- Family history of anemia
- Complications during delivery
- Blood loss during birth
- Illness requiring a lot of blood work
- Being a twin with twin-to-twin transfusion
- Poor diet, particularly low in iron, vitamin B6 or B12 in
- Mother during pregnancy
- Infant after birth
- Pale appearance
- Slow, dull activity
- Fast or difficulty breathing
- Difficulty during feeding
- Fast heart rate
- Slow weight gain
- Period when breathing stops
- Get proper prenatal care throughout your pregnancy
Take steps to prevent premature birth including:
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Keep chronic disease under control
- Optimize your baby’s nutrition
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation http://kidshealth.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
Anemia of Prematurity. The Hospital for Sick Children website. Available at: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/ResourceCentres/PrematureBabies/OverviewofTreatment/TreatmentofOtherConditions/Pages/Treatment-of-Anemia-of-Prematurity.aspx. Updated October 31, 2009. Accessed August 19, 2014.
Neonatal Anemia. UCSF Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/pdf/manuals/37%5FAnemia.pdf. Published 2004. Accessed December 5, 2012.
Trachtenbarg D, Golemon T. Office Care of the Premature Infant: Part II. Common Medical and Surgical Problems. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 15;57(10):2383-2390. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0515/p2383.html. Accessed August 19, 2014.
What is Anemia of Prematurity? Greenwich Hospital website. Available at: http://www.greenhosp.org/upload/docs/FactSheets/English/pediatric%5Fanemia-premeturity.pdf. Updated April 2006. Accessed August 19, 2014.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 08/19/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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