The Hb value measures the hemoglobin in your blood. If it is too low, this can cause problems, especially during pregnancy, when it is important to ensure optimal care for the unborn child. Therefore, anemia or iron deficiency can lead to serious damage. How you can avoid this, you can find out here!
Table of contents
What Is The Hb Value?
The Hb value shows how much hemoglobin you have in your blood. This substance is composed of the pigment heme and the protein complex globin. Its four subunits can each bind one oxygen molecule. So the result is four oxygen molecules in the whole complex.
What this little excursion into chemistry is important for: The value says a lot. It shows whether you suffer from anemia. Or whether, on the contrary, you have too many red blood cells, which should not be the case. Especially during pregnancy, the Hb value should be checked regularly. This is more than just another statistical value. A doctor can read a lot from it. Then he can ensure the best possible care for you and your unborn child.
The measurement is a health insurance benefit and is part of a thorough examination. It can be performed by any midwife or your gynecologist. The Hb value is measured for the first time at the initial examination. From the sixth month onwards, further regular measurements are taken. The unit of measurement for the Hb value is g/l or g/dl, which is grams per liter or grams per deciliter.
Hb Value: What Else Is Normal?
Women generally have a lower Hb value than men. For reference, a Hb value of 13 g/dl is common. A Hb value of 10 g/dl, on the other hand, would be too low.
+ Women: 12 – 16 g/dl+
Men: 14 – 18 g/dl+
Children have different hemoglobin values at different ages. The pediatrician has a chart handy and compares the values.
Hemoglobin Does This:
+ binds oxygen and carbon dioxide in red blood cells (erythrocytes).
+ consists of iron-containing protein+
gives the blood its red color
Functions Of Hemoglobin In The Body
To recognize the danger of a deficiency, it must first be clear what the protein complex does in the first place: it binds oxygen as well as carbon dioxide. In this way, it transports both substances with the blood: first, oxygen from the lungs to every single cell in the body. Later, it transports the decomposition product carbon dioxide away in the opposite direction. The more red blood cells there are, the better this task can be performed. However, the fewer there are, the worse it is for the supply of oxygen to the cells.
If the value is too low, this results in a dangerous undersupply. Too high, on the other hand, is not good either! One case is called anemia or anemia. The opposite is called polyglobia and occurs when too many red blood cells are measured.
If your Hb value is too low, you usually have too few red blood cells. This can have various causes, which is why research into the causes is called for. An iron deficiency can also lead to this, as can too much fluid in the blood. In pregnant women, iron deficiency is particularly common. If your doctor detects anemia, your blood will be further tested in the laboratory. Pregnant women need more iron to maintain a correct Hb value. Quite clearly, after all, the unborn child branches off what it needs.
To compensate for the lack of oxygen, your heart rate increases, and as a result, so does your pulse. You are then more quickly exhausted or out of breath, i.e. less able to work under pressure. You also feel tired and listless. Other people will often tell you how pale you look. Sometimes you also get more unexplained headaches. Attention: This does not always have to feel like this. If your body already had a low Hb level before pregnancy, you will hardly notice any of this.
Possible Reasons For A Low Hb Value
Women have a special problem with the Hb value. The reason for this is menstrual bleeding, which is why women often suffer from iron deficiency. Young women are particularly affected by this. But certain diseases can also lead to anemia. Cancer is just as possible as a chronic inflammation that festers undetected in the body. Another possibility is a folic acid deficiency. Bleeding can also cause the Hb value to drop- if the body does not produce new red blood cells as quickly. If you have too much water in your body, the value will also drop, because then your blood will be diluted.
The Hb Value In The Unborn Child
In the unborn child, we speak of HbF, which stands for fetal hemoglobin. In contrast to the hemoglobin of an adult, it has a different composition. It can bind more oxygen, which makes it easier to supply the fetus.
The Hb Value In Newborns
After birth, the composition of hemoglobin also changes. Thus, the prenatal HbF is replaced: HbA is now gradually formed, which is also measured in us adults. Immediately after birth, the baby is therefore in a transitional phase. Around the third month, a particularly low Hb value may occur. This is completely normal and is not a cause for concern. It is part of the child’s development and will pass on its own.
Measurement Of Hb Value In Pregnant Women
As a rule of thumb, if the Hb value is not below 11.2 g/dl at the first measurement, everything is fine. Values below 11.2 g/dl indicate anemia. This is usually due to a previously undetected iron deficiency in the mother. In the middle third of pregnancy, the Hb value may be a little less, but not less than 10.5g/dl. In this context, an analysis by W. Kirschner et al. from 2016 is interesting: it showed that around SSW 29 there is a regular drop in the Hb value in pregnant women. After that, however, the hemoglobin rises again slightly.
Why Is The Hb Limit Pregnancy So Important?
During pregnancy, anemia is more common in expectant mothers. The reason for this is often a well-known female problem: iron deficiency. The fetus, in turn, needs more and more iron over the months to develop properly. This need is highest in the last trimester of pregnancy. In addition, the whole organism of a pregnant woman has to prepare for blood loss during childbirth.
Therefore, the Hb value should be constantly monitored during pregnancy. If it is too low and iron deficiency is the reason, there is an iron supplement. Attention, iron deficiency and anemia are not the same: iron deficiency is the precursor of anemia!
Thus, with sufficient iron, growth disorders in the child can be prevented, as well as premature births. A balanced supply of iron is very important for blood formation, brain formation, and bone formation in the unborn child.
: Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells (erythrocytes).
Iron deficiency is not the same as anemia, rather iron deficiency is its precondition.
The Hb value indicates such anemia, but then the causes are not yet clear.
There are also other measurements that indicate iron deficiency, for example.
This is how dangerous iron deficiency can be during pregnancy: Even more info on this important topic!
Hb Value: What Else Is Examined In Pregnant Women?
Confusion often arises between these terms, so we want to clarify their respective functions here. Each of these measurements is important for a different subset.
What Is Hematocrit?
The value indicates the ratio of all solid components of the blood. So both red and white blood cells and the platelets. Thus hematocrit says something about the fluidity of your blood and whether you have enough fluid in your blood.
Which Value Is Important For Detecting Iron Deficiency?
More important for iron diagnostics, however, are the Hb value, the erythrocytes, and ferritin. The difference: While ferritin indicates an iron deficiency, the Hb value and the erythrocytes show whether anemia has already formed. Ferritin, on the other hand, only tells how much iron reserves the pregnant woman still has in her body. If this store is empty, a balanced diet is no longer sufficient. Now it must be corrected with the help of iron treatment!
The sooner the deficiency is detected, the better: then anemia can still be prevented. Iron supplements often help best. But even if everything was OK at the beginning, a deficiency can show up in a later examination. It is therefore important to have regular examinations, especially from the second half onwards.
Deviations In The Hb Value: That’s What They Say!
Experts can read a lot from the Hb value. Indirectly, conclusions can be drawn about too much or too little water in the body (for example, in the case of fluid loss in summer, when you sweat too much). In addition, hemoglobin can also be detected in urine, as well as in stool. This is tested during certain preventive examinations or when your doctor suspects that you have certain diseases.
Positive Detection Of Hemoglobin In Urine Or Stool Can Mean
+ red blood cells are already decomposing in the blood+
kidney diseases, also cancer+
unusual bleeding in the ureters
Hb Value Pregnancy Too Low? These Are The Causes Of Anemia In Pregnancy
What does the doctor do if the Hb value is too low?
First of all, he will prescribe you iron supplements. If your situation is not serious, this can already achieve a lot. Such preparations can be folic acid or iron tablets. If the Hb value drops too much when new measurements are taken, a transfusion can be given. Only rarely is an iron infusion given. The doctor will only give you iron intravenously if you are unable to absorb it orally.
You can find out how important folic acid is during pregnancy here!
Iron Deficiency In The Puerperium?
Even in the puerperium, i.e. shortly after birth, it is necessary to monitor the values. After all, the young mother has lost a lot of blood. Therefore, 24 to 48 hours after the birth, the doctor measures again. If the Hb value falls below 10 g/dl, intervention is made: At a minimum of 8 g/dl, iron supplements are given; below that, iron infusions are given. The ferritin value is also checked again, and if it is below 12 ng/ml, intravenous treatment is given.
What You Can Do To Prevent Iron Deficiency
Your diet is crucial, not only during pregnancy. Below you will find a few tips on what you should eat more of in order to consume a particularly high amount of iron. This is how you prevent low Hb levels and iron deficiency!
These Foods Contain Particularly High Amounts Of Iron:
+ red meat+
You don’t eat meat because you are vegetarian or vegan? Learn more about how to eat right during pregnancy here!
Also take plenty of vitamin C, because this improves the absorption of iron in your body. Also make sure you have a good supply of folic acid. Eat plenty of asparagus, beans, mushrooms, and oatmeal.
Conclusion Hb Value And What It Says
The Hb value stands for hemoglobin. This protein complex is responsible for the transport of gases in your body, including oxygen. Thus, the Hb value is particularly important for a sufficient oxygen supply in your body. It can drop for various reasons, a common problem, especially for women. Often a low Hb value comes from iron deficiency, which in turn can cause anemia. Then you have too few red blood cells and often feel weak and tired.
Especially during pregnancy, you should pay attention to a balanced diet with plenty of iron. But don’t worry, the examination of your iron level and Hb value is of course one of the basic examinations during every pregnancy. If your doctor finds that you have an iron deficiency, he will prescribe iron supplements. After all, your child needs it for healthy development!