Original articles

The risks for pre-term delivery and low birth weight are independently increased by the severity of maternal anaemia

kidanto lesio hussein


Objective: To estimate the impact of severity of maternal anaemia on various perinatal outcomes.
Design: Cross-sectional.
Setting: Labour ward, Muhimbili National Hospital,, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Methods: Eligible mothers admitted for delivery between 15 November 2002 and 15 February 2003 had their haemoglobin measured. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, iron supplementation, malaria prophylaxis, blood transfusion during current pregnancy, current and previous pregnancy outcomes were collected and analyzed. Anaemia was classified according to WHO (Normal Hb≥11.0g/dl; mild Hb: 9.0-10.9g/dl; moderate Hb: 7.0-8.9g/dl; and severe Hb<7.0g/dl). Logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the impact of the severity of anaemia. The following outcome measures were used: Pre-term delivery (<37 weeks), Apgar score, stillbirth, early neonatal death, low birth weight (LBW; <2500 g) and very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g).
Results: A total of 1174 anaemic and 547 non-anaemic were enrolled in the study. Median age was 24 years (range14-46 years) and median parity was 2? (range 0-17). The prevalence of anaemia and severe anaemia was 68% and 5.8%, respectively. The risk of pre-tem delivery increased significantly with severity of anaemia with odds ratios 1.4, 1.4 and 4.1 for mild, moderate and severe anaemia respectively in relation to non-anaemic women. Corresponding risks for LBW and VLBW were 1.2, 1.7 and 3.8 and 1.5, 1.9 and 4.2 respectively.
Conclusions: The risks of pre-term delivery and LBW increased by the severity of maternal anaemia.

Author's affiliations

kidanto lesio hussein, Muhumbili university of health sciences

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anaemia, pregnancy, low birth weight, pre-term delivery, neonatal deaths, Tanzania

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2009;99(2):98.

Article History

Date submitted: 2008-05-08
Date published: 2009-02-03

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