Risks for Preterm Delivery and Low Birth Weight are Independently Increased by Severity of Maternal Anaemia (Original Articles) (Report)
Anaemia is the most widespread nutritional disorder in the world, affecting 30% of the global population, and is even more prevalent among pregnant women. Massawe et al. showed that 65% of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Dar es Salaam were anaemic; (1) this constitutes a public health problem that requires attention. Anaemia has a significant impact on the health of mother and fetus especially if the condition is severe; however, the literature is conflicting about the association between anaemia and perinatal outcomes. Some studies (2-4) have demonstrated a strong association between low haemoglobin before delivery and adverse outcomes such as preterm delivery, low birth weight (LBW), intra-uterine growth retardation, small-for-gestational-age and anaemia, while other studies found no association. (5,6) A meta-analysis showed that anaemia during early pregnancy, but not late pregnancy, is associated with slightly increased risk of preterm delivery and LBW. (7) Many studies have used different definitions and were performed in areas with a low prevalence of anaemia. (7) There is therefore insufficient information to conclusively assess the effect of maternal anaemia on perinatal outcomes.