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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-39

Anemia and iron deficiency in pregnant women in Zaria, Nigeria


1 Department of Haematology, ABUTH, Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ABUTH, Zaria, Nigeria
3 Department of Medicine, ABUTH, Zaria, Nigeria
4 Department of Community Medicine, ABUTH, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Abdul-Aziz Hassan
Department of Hematology, ABUTH PMB 06 Shika, 810001 Zaria
Nigeria
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Introduction: Anemia is common in pregnancy and iron deficiency is a major cause of anemia in pregnant women in Africa. This is due to increased demands of the fetus, growing uterus, placenta, and poor nutritional habits. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of anemia and the role of iron deficiency in causation of anemia in pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of the Ahmadu Bello University teaching hospital (ABUTH) in Zaria, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: Ninety (90) consenting pregnant women were entered for this study with an equal number of controls. A structured questionnaire was administered to participants. Full blood count, serum ferritin, urine and stool microscopy for parasites were carried out. Results: The mean hematocrit in the pregnant and non-pregnant subjects was 35% (SD ± 3.8; 95 CI = 34.2-35.8) and 39% L/L (SD ± 3.2; 95% CI = 37.3-38.7) with P < 0.001. In the pregnant subjects 11(12.2%) had anemia while none of the controls was anemic. Mean serum ferritin among the pregnant and non-pregnant subjects was 26.0 μg/L (SD ± 35.2; 95% CI = 18.6-33.4) and 70.3 μg/L (SD ± 106.1; 95% CI 48.1-92.5), respectively, with P-value of <0.001. Even though iron deficiency was observed in 68/90 (75.6%) of pregnant women, it was latent in 61/68(89.7%) of the women while it was frank in 7/68 (10.3%). In the non-pregnant subjects, 23/90 (25.6%) had iron deficiency despite a normal hematocrit. Of the 11/90 (12.2%) of pregnant subjects that had anemia 7/11(63.6%) had frank iron deficiency anemia while 4/11 (36.4) had anemia due to other causes. 2/90 (2.2%) of the pregnant subjects had ova of hookworm in their stool samples and both had iron deficiency anemia. Conclusion: Iron deficiency underlies many cases of anemia in pregnancy, thus justifying the use of iron supplementation in pregnancy as is currently practiced. Latent iron deficiency among non-pregnant controls suggests that iron supplementation may benefit non-pregnant women within the reproductive age group could help to improve their iron stores before the contemplation of pregnancy, thereby, reducing the prevalence of pregnancy related anemia in this environment.


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