Captured on December 22, 2014, at Saptosari Health Center in Gunung Kidul, Indonesia, this image depicts a laboratory technician, in the process of drawing a blood sample from a 19-year-old pregnant Indonesian woman, in order to perform a screening test for anemia. In 2013, Saptosari had the highest prevalence (51%) of anemia among pregnant women in the Gunung Kidul Regency of Yogyakarta. Therefore, early screening and detection is now being done so as to prevent the negative impact of severe anemia in pregnant women.
Anemia is defined as a reduction in the quantity of red blood cells (RBCs), iron, or the oxygen-carrying capacity of one’s blood. Fatigue, weakness, and lethargy, are symptoms that often accompany an anemic condition, which can be caused by a decrease in RBC production, a dramatic blood loss, or an increase in RBC breakdown. Pregnancy is a metabolically stressful time for a woman, and maintaining a normal RBC count is a crucial part of a healthy pregnancy, both for the woman, and especially, her developing baby. RBCs carry oxygen throughout the body delivering it to the rapidly-developing fetus, and they are able to do this due to their hemoglobin content. In order to maintain a normal hemoglobin level, iron must be present in the pregnant mother’s diet, therefore, good nutrition for the mother, which means a diet containing satisfactory levels of iron, is crucial if a normal pregnancy is to be achieved.