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Home |  Pregnancy overview |  Reproductive Health | Complications | Labor & Birth

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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 permanent feature.

 

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 cell trait".

 

Individuals with sickle cell trait (carriers) are usually healthy and do not suffer the clinical manifestations of sicksickle cell and pregnancyle 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 average population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sickle Cell  mainly affects people of African and Middle Eastern ancestry