Heart & Blood Condition

Expert reports about Heart & Blood Condition


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE HEMOGLOBINOPATHIES DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

                                                                                                                                                

What are hemoglobinopathies during pregnancy?

Hemoglobinopathies encompass a set of hereditary blood problems with the hemoglobin (Hb) molecule that is contained within red blood cells (RBCs) and whose main job is to carry almost all of the oxygen in the blood. Each molecule of Hb consists of four protein subunits. In adults, most Hb (usually about 97 percent) is a hemoglobin type called HbA, consisting of a pair of subunits called alpha (a) chains and another pair called beta (ß) chains. Although each subunit is a protein chain consisting of building blocks called amino acids, each subunit also contains a non-protein entity called a heme group, a ringed structure that carries one atom of iron. A hemoglobinopathy can be qualitative, meaning that something is wrong with the structure of either the alpha or the beta chains (an amino acid building block is out of order, or missing, causing the chain to take on an abnormal shape or function), or it can be quantitative, a condition known as thalassemia, meaning that there is not enough of that chain type.


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