In the below article, we will tell you why it is essential to screen for Thalassemia during pregnancy.
Thalassemia is a hereditary condition wherein the body fails to produce sufficient hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen via the bloodstream. If one partner has Thalassemia, it is essential
to get the other partner screened to determine the likelihood of the condition being passed onto the baby. You will be shocked to know that changes in the gene which produces the beta globin protein lead to a condition called Beta thalassemia. Any changes in the gene for the alpha-globin cause Alpha thalassemia. Various studies have confirmed that Beta Thalassemia is the most common single-gene disorder in the country. There are a large number of children who are born with thalassemia every year. Thus, thalassemia screening is a need of the hour during pregnancy and women should do it without fail after consulting the doctor.
Know about Thalassemia Screening Before Pregnancy
Before conception, partners are screened for Thalassemia with the help of a test known as Hemoglobin electrophoresis or High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC test). The presence of the Thalassemia trait could also be tested through a blood test that is a Complete Blood Count (CBC) to look for the number of red blood cells and any abnormality in the Hemoglobin concentration. You will have to take tests under the supervision of the doctor.
Here we tell you about thalassemia diagnosis during pregnancy:
Pregnancy with Thalassemia is classified as a high-risk pregnancy. So, the parents should go for regular antenatal checkups and the mother and baby’s health will be closely monitored. If only the mother has the Thalassemia trait, then she may also suffer from anaemia during pregnancy and will need appropriate care and management. If both parents have the trait, then prenatal testing is done to see if the baby has Thalassemia major.
Take-away: – Thalassemia screening test during pregnancy can be advised to a pregnant woman who may be unaware of the condition. Depending on the results of the Thalassemia test during pregnancy, the partner may be asked for a screening test. Thalassemia detection after birth is carried out in the first two years or even between 6-12 years of age when the child exhibits symptoms like slow growth, irritability, and feeding problems.
Appropriate testing would be Beta Thalassemia screening in blood by gene sequencing
Dr Prerna Agarwal, Manager Technical Operation, Apollo Diagnostics, Pune