Other problems associated with sickle cell disease (SCD)
People with sickle cell disease (SCD) are chronically anemic. Their hemoglobin levels
hardly ever rise above 9.5 g/dl. Compare this to the normal levels of 12.5-15.0 g/dl
for the average woman.
The chronic anemia is largely due to the recurrent destruction of the blood cells
in the body. The cells are vulnerable by virtue of carrying the defective hemoglobin.
SCD is also known as "sickle cell anemia" simply because anemia is practically a
Sickle Cell Trait (carriers)
To be affected by sickle cell disease, an individual has to inherit the defective
gene from both parents. If only one defective gene is inherited from either parent,
the child will be a carrier but will not have the disease. This is known as "sickle
Individuals with sickle cell trait (carriers) are usually healthy and do not suffer
the clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease. However, in very extreme conditions,
a sickle cell trait individual may suffer a sickling crisis, usually relatively mild.
This occurrence is rare.
Problems suffered by women with sickle cell disease (SCD) in pregnancy
Pregnancy puts a considerable strain on the body systems of sickle cell disease sufferers.
The chronic anemia and impaired oxygen supply mean these women suffer a higher rate
of such complications as miscarriage, preterm labor and even stillbirth.
Sickle cell trait and pregnancy
The carriers or sickle cell trait individuals usually have normal pregnancies and
the risks of pregnancy complications mentioned above are comparable to those of the