The Prevalence of Anemia Among Pregnant Women at Booking in Enugu, South Eastern Nigeria

Cyril C. Dim, MBBS (Nig); Hyacinth E. Onah, MBBS (Nig), MPA, FMCOG, FWACS, FICS

In This Article


Background: More than half of the pregnant women in the world have hemoglobin levels indicative of anemia. Knowledge of the current situation of the condition in our environment is necessary. This knowledge will motivate antenatal caregivers toward early detection and prompt management of anemia in pregnancy.
Aims: Our aim was to determine the prevalence of anemia among pregnant women at registration for antenatal care at a major tertiary healthcare center in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of 530 normal pregnant women registered with the antenatal unit of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, between January 1, 2005 and October 30, 2005. Data on the age, parity, gestational age at booking, interval between last confinement and last menstrual period in the index pregnancy, hemoglobin concentration at booking, and HIV status were obtained and analyzed.
Results: The mean gestational age at booking was 21.7 ± 7.1 weeks (range, 6-37). Two hundred fourteen (40.4%) of the women were anemic (hemoglobin [Hb] < 11.0 g/dL). The majority (90.7%) of these anemic patients were mildly anemic, whereas 9.3% were moderately anemic. There was no case of severe anemia (Hb < 7.0 g/dL). The prevalence of anemia at booking was significantly higher in those who registered for antenatal care in the third trimester than in those who registered in the second trimester, and in HIV-positive pregnant women than in HIV-negative ones (P = .00). The patients' age, parity, and the interval between the last confinement and the index pregnancy had no significant relationship with the hemoglobin concentration of pregnant women at booking (P > .05).
Conclusion: The prevalence of anemia in pregnancy at booking is still high in Enugu. Preconception care, including iron and folic acid supplementation, is advocated to reduce this problem. Early antenatal booking and improved antenatal care are also necessary for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition. All would ensure safe motherhood.

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