AIMS--To investigate differences in serum lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations in pregnant women of different ethnic origin. METHODS--Serum lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations were measured in 232 women (114 Caucasians, 118 Africans/Afro-Caribbeans), who presented consecutively for screening for gestational diabetes in the third trimester of pregnancy. RESULTS--African/Afro-Caribbean pregnant women had lower serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B and higher high density lipoprotein cholesterol and Lp(a) lipoprotein concentrations compared with Caucasian women. Apolipoprotein A1 concentrations were similar in the two groups. The differences were not attributable to differences in weight, age, parity, or postload plasma glucose levels. CONCLUSION--Ethnic origin is an important determinant of serum lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations during pregnancy.
Thrombocytopenia is a common problem during pregnancy that is not frequently detected and as a result is often inappropriately managed. The obvious concern with thrombocytopenia during pregnancy is the risk of significant bleeding at the time of delivery. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of gestational thrombocytopenia in pregnant women reporting for ante-natal care at a Ghanaian primary health care centre.
Platelet count was evaluated in 300 blood samples from pregnant women and 100 non pregnant female blood donors. The platelet counts were performed using Sysmex KX-21N automated hematology analyzer. The study design was cross sectional. Proportions were analyzed for statistical significance with the Chi square, Odds ratio was also calculated
The prevalence of thrombocytopenia in pregnant women in this study was 15.3% compared with 4% in controls. This was statistically significant with a P value of 0.003. Odds ratio was 4.31 (95% CI: 1.52-12.04). Most cases of thrombocytopenia were mild (76%), only 4% of the women with thrombocytopenia had severe thrombocytopenia.
The frequency of thrombocytopenia in this study was higher than that reported from more developed parts of the world. This may be due to undetected malaria infection in our patients. Pregnant women should be routinely screened for thrombocytopenia. Those found to be thrombocytopenic should have both thick and thin blood films done to exclude the presence of malaria parasites.
Pregnancy; thrombocytopenia; Ghana; women; malaria
The US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended daily folic acid supplementation for women planning on becoming pregnant in an effort to prevent fetal neural tube defects. We evaluated pregnant patients presenting to the emergency department to determine rates of folic acid supplementation.
We surveyed a convenience sample of pregnant patients who presented to the University of Utah Emergency Department (ED) between 1 January 2008, and 30 April 2009, regarding pregnancy history and prior medical care.
One hundred thirty-five patients participated in the study. Eighty-four patients (62.2%) reported current folic acid supplementation. Sixty-six patients identified themselves as Caucasian and 69 as non-Caucasian race. There was a significant difference in folic acid use between Caucasian and non-Caucasian women (p = 0.035). The majority of Caucasian women (71.2%) reported daily folic acid use versus approximately one-half of non-Caucasian women (53.6%). Both groups were similar in accessing a primary care provider (PCP) for pregnancy care prior to the ED visit (53% vs. 49.3%, p = 0.663), and rates of folic acid use were similar in those who had seen a PCP (85.7% vs. 76.5%, p = 0.326). Language did not have a significant association with folic acid use.
A large percentage of pregnant ED patients did not report current folic use, and there was a significant difference between Caucasian and non-Caucasian women in rates of folic acid supplementation. This study highlights the potential role of the ED in screening patients for folic acid supplementation.
Haematological changes associated with malaria in pregnancy are not well documented, and have focused predominantly on anaemia. Examined here is thrombocytopaenia in pregnant women infected with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax in a low transmission area on the north-western border of Thailand.
In this observational study we reviewed the platelet counts from routine complete blood count (CBC) in a cohort of healthy and malaria infected Karen pregnant women attending weekly antenatal clinics. A platelet count of 75,000/μL was the threshold at 2 standard deviations below the mean for healthy pregnant women used to indicate thrombocytopenia. Differences in platelet counts in non-pregnant and pregnant women were compared after matching for age, symptoms, malaria species and parasitaemia.
In total 974 pregnant women had 1,558 CBC measurements between February 2004 and September 2006. The median platelet counts (/μL) were significantly lower in patients with an episode of falciparum 134,000 [11,000–690,000] (N = 694) or vivax malaria 184,000 [23,000–891,000] (N = 523) compared to healthy pregnant women 256,000 [64,000–781,000] (N = 255), P < 0.05 for both comparisons. Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax caused a 34% (95% CI 24–47) and 22% (95% CI 8–36) reduction in platelet count, respectively. Pregnant compared to non pregnant women were at higher risk OR = 2.27 (95%CI 1.16–4.4) P = 0.017, for thrombocytopaenia. Platelets counts were higher in first compared with subsequent malaria infections within the same pregnancy. Malaria associated thrombocytopaenia had a median [range] time for recovery of 7 [2-14] days which did not differ by antimalarial treatment (P = 0.86), or species (P = 0.63) and was not associated with active bleeding.
Pregnant women become more thrombocytopenic than non-pregnant women with acute uncomplicated malaria. Uncomplicated malaria associated thrombocytopaenia is seldom severe. Prompt antimalarial treatment resulted in normalization of platelet counts within a week.
While drug use during pregnancy represents substantial obstetrical risks to mother and baby, little research has examined motivation for drug treatment among pregnant women. We analyzed data collected between 2000 and 2007 from 149 drug-using women located in Baltimore, Maryland. We hypothesized that pregnant drug-using women would be more likely than their non-pregnant counterparts to express greater motivation for treatment. Also, we explored race/ethnicity differences in motivation for treatment. Propensity scores were used to match a sample of 49 pregnant drug-using women with 100 non-pregnant drug-using women. A factor analysis using 11 items from a readiness for treatment scale was used to create a dichotomous outcome variable representing higher and lower levels of motivation for treatment. The first logistic regression model indicated that pregnant women were more than four times as likely as non-pregnant women to express greater motivation for treatment. The second logistic regression analysis indicated a significant interaction between pregnancy status and race/ethnicity, such that white pregnant women were nearly eight times as likely as African-American pregnant women to score higher on the motivation for treatment measure. These results suggest that African-American pregnant drug-using women should be targeted for interventions that increase their motivation for treatment.
Pregnant drug-users; race/ethnicity; motivation for treatment
Plasma fibronectin (FN) levels in obese/overweight and non-obese pregnant women were evaluated as a possible risk factor for preeclampsia. A total of one hundred and sixty three pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at University of Calabar Teaching Hospital participated in the study and sixty non-pregnant women served as control. About 77 (47.24%) of the pregnant women were followed up for any subsequent development of preeclampsia during the pregnancy. Fibronectin levels in plasma were measured by ELISA assay and serum total protein, urea and creatinine were determined spectrophotometrically. The mean plasma FN concentration of non-obese pregnant women in first trimester was lower than those of the non-pregnant women by 24%, but however, increased to the non-pregnant level in second and third trimesters. Obese/overweight pregnant women had significantly (P < 0.05) higher values than non-obese pregnant women in second and third trimesters. FN in obese/overweight pregnant women correlated positively with mean arterial blood pressure (MAP: r = 0.414, P = 0.04). About 28.57% of the pregnant women with FN above cut off point of 330 μg/ml at 18–24 weeks of gestation developed preeclampsia. This value increased to 40.0% when only the obese/overweight women were considered. On analysis of both fibronectin >330 μg/ml and MAP > 90, the predictive value increased to 66.7%. We therefore conclude that elevated FN may be regarded as a risk factor of preeclampsia especially among the obese women.
Fibronectin; Obesity; Arterial pressure; Risk factor; Pregnancy; Preeclampsia
Studies on salivary variables and pregnancy in Latin America are scarce. This study aimed to compare salivary flow rate, pH, and concentrations of calcium, phosphate, and sIgA of unstimulated whole saliva in pregnant and non-pregnant Brazilians.
Cross-sectional study. Sample was composed by 22 pregnant and 22 non-pregnant women attending the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics, São Lucas Hospital, in Porto Alegre city, South region of Brazil. Unstimulated whole saliva was collected to determine salivary flow rate, pH, and biochemical composition. Data were analyzed by Student t test and ANCOVA (two-tailed α = 0.05).
No difference was found for salivary flow rates and concentrations of total calcium and phosphate between pregnant and non-pregnant women (p > 0.05). Pregnant women had lower pH (6.7) than non-pregnant women (7.5) (p < 0.001), but higher sIgA level (118.9 mg/L) than the latter (90.1 mg/L) (p = 0.026).
Some of the tested variables of unstimulated whole saliva were different between pregnant and non-pregnant Brazilians in this sample. Overall, the values of the tested salivary parameters were within the range of international references of normality.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence is high among rural dwellers and pregnant women.
This study aims to determine the prevalence of HIV and anemia among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural community of Okada, Edo State, Nigeria.
Patients and Methods:
Anticoagulated blood and sera samples were obtained from 480 women consisting of 292 pregnant and 188 non-pregnant women. Antibodies to HIV were detected in the sera samples and hemoglobin concentration of the anticoagulated blood specimens were determined using standard techniques. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin concentration <11g/dl for pregnant women and <12g/dl for non-pregnant women.
Pregnancy was not a risk factor for acquiring HIV infection (pregnant vs. non-pregnant: 10.2% vs. 13.8%; OR=0.713, 95% CI=0.407, 1.259, P = 0.247). The prevalence of HIV was significantly (P = 0.005 and P = 0.025) higher in the age group 10-20 years and 21 – 30 years among pregnant and non-pregnant women respectively. Pregnancy was a risk factor for acquiring anemia (OR=1.717, 95% CI=1.179, 2.500, P = 0.006). Only the age of pregnant women significantly (P = 0.004) affected the prevalence of anemia inversely.
The prevalence of HIV and anemia among pregnant women were 10.2% and 49.3% respectively. Pregnancy was associated with anemia. Interventions by appropriate agencies are advocated to reduce associated sequelae.
Pregnancy; HIV; anemia; rural community; Nigeria
Possible reasons for the excess risk of perinatal mortality experienced by Asian women living in Leicestershire who work during pregnancy were investigated. This entailed a detailed examination of the work undertaken locally by a group of pregnant Asian women and comparison with the work undertaken by an occupationally matched group of pregnant non-Asian women. A total of 306 pregnant women were interviewed. The results suggest that the two ethnic groups experienced similar working conditions, and most of the women continued working until the 29th week of pregnancy. The Asian women worked significantly longer hours on average than the non-Asian group, and were more likely to report financial dependence by the family upon their earnings.
Pyelonephritis during pregnancy is associated with a more severe course than in the non-pregnant state. This has been attributed to an increased susceptibility of pregnant women to microbial products. The complement system is part of innate immunity and its alternative pathway is activated mainly by microorganisms. The purpose of this study was to determine if activation of the alternative pathway of the complement system (determined by maternal fragment Bb concentrations) occurs in pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis.
This cross-sectional study included the following groups: 1) normal pregnant women (n=62); and 2) pregnant women with pyelonephritis (n=38). Maternal plasma Fragment Bb concentrations were determined by ELISA. Non-parametric statistics were used for analyses.
1) Pregnant women with pyelonephritis had a higher median plasma concentration of fragment Bb than those with a normal pregnancy (1.3 μg/ml, IQR: 1.1-1.9 vs. 0.8 μg/m, IQR: 0.7-0.9; p<0.001); 2) No significant differences were observed in the median maternal plasma concentration of fragment Bb between pregnant women with pyelonephritis who had a positive blood culture and those with a negative blood culture (1.4 μg/ml, IQR: 1.1-3.5 vs. 1.3 μg/ml, IQR: 1.1-1.9; p=0.2).
Pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis have evidence of activation of the alternative pathway of the complement system, regardless of the presence or absence of a positive blood culture.
inflammation; innate immunity; pregnancy; urinary tract infection; asymptomatic bacteriuria; Th1/Th2; acute respiratory distress syndrome
Given the high rate of pregnancy and perinatal complications recently observed in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the lack of data on the serum variations in androgens and insulin sensitivity indexes in pregnant women with PCOS, the current study was aimed to assess these changes and their potential effect on pregnancy outcomes in a population of women with PCOS.
Forty-five pregnant patients with ovulatory PCOS (PCOS group) and other 42 healthy pregnant women (control group) were studied assaying serum androgen levels and insulin sensitivity indexes throughout pregnancy serially, and recording obstetrical outcomes.
Serum androgen levels and insulin resistance indexes were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in PCOS than in control group at study entry, these differences were sustained throughout pregnancy, and their changes resulted significantly (p < 0.05) different between PCOS and control group. In PCOS patients, women who had a complicated pregnancy showed serum androgen levels and insulin sensitivity indexes significantly (p < 0.05) worse in comparison to subjects without any pregnancy and/or neonatal complications.
PCOS patients have impaired changes in serum androgen levels and insulin sensitivity indexes during pregnancy. These alterations could be implicated in the pregnancy and neonatal complications frequently observed in women affected by PCOS.
AIM/BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that healthy subjects of African ancestry have lower total white cell counts, neutrophil counts and platelet counts than Caucasian subjects and that, at least among Caucasians, women have higher neutrophil and platelet counts than men. The primary aim of this study was to confirm and quantify the ethnic differences, confirm the sex difference in Caucasians and determine whether there was a similar sex difference in non-Caucasians. A secondary aim was to establish reference ranges for white cell and platelet counts for the different ethnic and sex groups. METHODS: The study population comprised 417 healthy volunteers (201 women and 216 men), of whom 200 were Caucasian, 102 were Afrocaribbean and 115 were African. Full blood counts, including a differential white cell count, were measured using a H.2 automated differential counter. White cell and platelet counts were compared between the three different ethnic groups and between men and women. Reference ranges were determined for each ethnic and sex group. RESULTS: Africans and Afrocaribbeans had lower total white cell, neutrophil and platelet counts than Caucasians and counts were lower in Africans than in Afrocaribbeans. Women had higher neutrophil and platelet counts than men in all ethnic groups. CONCLUSIONS: Sex and ethnic origin should be taken into consideration when assessing white cell and platelet counts.
Adiponectin is an anti-diabetic, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory and angiogenic adipokine that circulates in oligomeric complexes including: low-molecular-weight (LMW) trimers, medium-molecular-weight (MMW) hexamers and high-molecular-weight (HMW) isoforms. The aim of this study was to determine whether there are changes in adiponectin multimers in pregnancy and as a function of maternal weight.
In this cross-sectional study, serum concentrations of total, HMW, MMW and LMW adiponectin were determined in women included in three groups: 1) normal pregnant women of normal body mass index (BMI) (n=466); 2) overweight/obese pregnant women (BMI ≥25; n=257); and 3) non-pregnant women of normal weight (n=40). Blood samples were collected once from each pregnant woman between 11 and 42 weeks of gestation. Serum adiponectin multimers concentrations were determined by ELISA. Non-parametric statistics were used for analysis.
1) The median HMW adiponectin concentration and the median HMW/Total adiponectin ratio were significantly higher and the median LMW adiponectin concentration was significantly lower in pregnant than in non-pregnant women; 2) among pregnant women, the median serum concentration of total, HMW and MMW adiponectin was significantly higher in normal weight women than in overweight/obese patients; 3) HMW adiponectin was the most prevalent multimer in maternal serum regardless of gestational age or BMI status; 4) there were no significant differences in the median concentration of total, MMW, LMW adiponectin, and their relative distribution with advancing gestation.
Human pregnancy is characterized by quantitative and qualitative changes in adiponectin multimers, especially of the most active isoform, HMW adiponectin.
Adiponectin; Adipokines; Pregnancy; High molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin; Medium molecular weigh (MMW) adiponectin; Low molecular weight (LMW) adiponectin; BMI
To investigate the obstetrical and perinatal impact of oocyte donation, a cohort of women who conceived after OD was compared with a matched control group of women who became pregnant through in vitro fertilisation with autologous oocytes (AO).
A matched-pair analysis has been performed at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine of the UZ Brussel, Dutch speaking Free University of Brussel. A total of 410 pregnancies resulted in birth beyond 20 weeks of gestation occurring over a period of 10 years, including 205 oocyte donation pregnancies and 205 ICSI pregnancies with autologous oocytes (AO). Patients in the OD group were matched on a one-to-one basis with the AO group in terms of age, ethnicity, parity and plurality. Matched groups were compared using paired t-tests for continuous variables and McNemar test for categorical variables. A conditional logistic regression analyses was performed adjusting for paternal age, age of the oocyte donor, number of embryos transferred, and singleton/twin pregnancy.
Oocyte donation was associated with an increased risk of pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) (matched OR: 1.502 CI: 1.024-2.204), and first trimester bleeding (matched OR: 1.493 CI: 1.036-2.15). No differences were observed between the two matched groups with regard to gestational age, mean birth weight and length, head circumference and Apgar scores.
Oocyte donation is associated with an increased risk for PIH and first trimester bleeding independent of the recipients’ age, parity and plurality, and independent of the age of the donor or the partner. However, oocyte donation has no impact on the overall perinatal outcome.
Oocyte donation; Pregnancy outcome; Pregnancy-induced hypertension; First trimester bleeding
Glyburide’s PK and PD have not been studied in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The objective was to assess steady-state PK of glyburide as well as insulin sensitivity, beta-cell responsivity and overall disposition indices following a mixed meal tolerance test (MMTT) in GDM (n=40), non-pregnant type 2 diabetic (T2DM) (n=26) and healthy pregnant (n=40, MMTT only) women. At equivalent doses, glyburide plasma concentrations were ~50% lower in pregnancy compared to non-pregnant women. Average glyburide umbilical cord to maternal plasma concentration ratio at the time of delivery was 0.7 ± 0.4. Insulin sensitivity was ~5-fold lower in women with GDM compared to healthy pregnancy. Despite comparable beta-cell responsivity index, average beta-cell function corrected for insulin resistance was >3.5- fold lower in women with glyburide-treated GDM than healthy pregnancy. Women with GDM that fail glyburide may benefit from alternate medication selection or dosage escalation, though fetal safety should be considered.
glyburide; gestational diabetes; pregnancy; pharmacokinetics; CYP2C9; fetal exposure; umbilical cord; protein binding; mixed meal tolerance test; insulin sensitivity; beta-cell responsivity index; disposition index
Available data suggest that body dissatisfaction is common during pregnancy and may even be a precursor to post-natal depression. However, in order to accurately identify at-risk women, it is essential to first establish that body image measures function appropriately in pregnant populations. Our study examines the suitability of the Body Attitudes Questionnaire (BAQ) for measuring body dissatisfaction among pregnant women by comparing the psychometric functioning of the BAQ: (1) across key phases of pregnancy, and (2) between pregnant and non-pregnant women.
A total of 176 pregnant women from Melbourne, Victoria filled out a questionnaire battery containing demographic questions and the Body Attitudes Questionnaire at 16, 24, and 32 weeks during pregnancy. A comparison group of 148 non-pregnant women also completed the questionnaire battery at Time 1. Evaluations of the psychometric properties of the BAQ consisted of a series of measurement invariance tests conducted within a structural equation modelling framework.
Although the internal consistency and factorial validity of the subscales of the BAQ were established across time and also in comparisons between pregnant and non-pregnant women, measurement invariance tests showed non-invariant item intercepts across pregnancy and also in comparison with the non-pregnant subgroup. Inspection of modification indices revealed a complex, non-uniform pattern of differences in item intercepts across groups.
Collectively, our findings suggest that comparisons of body dissatisfaction between pregnant and non-pregnant women (at least based on the BAQ) are likely to be conflated by differential measurement biases that serve to undermine attempts to accurately assess level of body dissatisfaction. Researchers should be cautious in assessments of body dissatisfaction among pregnant women until a suitable measure has been established for use in this population. Given the fact that body dissatisfaction is often associated with maladaptive behaviours, such as unhealthy eating and extreme weight loss behaviours, and with ante-and post-natal depression, that have serious negative implications for women’s health and well-being, and potentially also for the unborn foetus during pregnancy, developing a suitable body image screening tool, specific to the perinatal period is clearly warranted.
Pregnancy; Body dissatisfaction; Body attitudes questionnaire; Measurement invariance
AIMS--To investigate the effect of pregnancy on serum concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins. METHODS--Fasting serum concentrations of total cholesterol, triglyceride, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), apolipoproteins AI, AII, and B, and lipoprotein (a) were measured in 178 women with normal glucose tolerance in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and in a control group of 58 non-pregnant women of similar age. Data were analysed using the unpaired t test and by one-way analysis of variance. RESULTS--The pregnant women had significantly higher concentrations of total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and apolipoproteins AI and B (p < 0.001) and apolipoprotein AII (p = 0.003) than the control women. The ratio of apolipoprotein B:apolipoprotein AI was significantly higher in the pregnant women than in the controls (p < 0.001), but the total cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratio was not significantly different. No significant difference was found in the concentration of lipoprotein (a). CONCLUSIONS--Hyperlipidaemia is common in the second half of pregnancy. This may be a purely physiological response to pregnancy or it may be indicative of pathology in some women. These results warrant a follow up study to investigate whether the hyperlipidaemic response to pregnancy is variable and if so, whether it can predict future hyperlipidaemia in a manner analogous to that of impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy, predicting non-insulin dependent diabetes in later life.
Pregnant women in methadone maintenance therapy may have poor nutrition during pregnancy. In 2006–2008, methadone treated pregnant women (n = 22) were recruited at an urban academic medical center and compared with non-drug using pregnant women (n = 119) at 20–35 weeks gestation. We measured adiposity using pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), dietary intake using a food frequency questionnaire, and micronutrient and essential fatty acid status using biomarkers. Methadone treated women had lower BMI, consumed more calories, had lower serum carotenoid concentrations and higher plasma homocysteine concentrations than controls. The study’s limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
methadone; pregnancy; nutrition; obesity; dietary intake; nutritional biomarkers
The incidence of congenital rubella was found to be 2.3 times higher in Asian than non-Asian births in England and Wales. This was attributed in part to higher susceptibility to rubella in Asian than non-Asian women, as shown by antenatal serological data from public health laboratories in Leeds, Luton, and Manchester. Examination of the ethnic origin of pregnant women requesting laboratory testing after contact with rubella or rash and of women with laboratory confirmed rubella in pregnancy also suggested that the disease was being underdiagnosed in pregnant Asian women. Failure to prevent congenital rubella by termination of infected pregnancies may therefore contribute to the increased incidence of the syndrome in Asians. Health education programmes about the dangers of rubella in pregnancy and of the need for vaccination can readily be promoted in the Asian community through existing ethnic organisations. Protection of other ethnic minorities likely to be at similar increased risk may require a vaccination programme aimed at national elimination of rubella.
Raising awareness of women on danger signs of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period is crucial for safe motherhood. In Ethiopia, a country where maternal morbidity and mortality is high little is known about knowledge level of pregnant women on obstetric danger signs. The objective of this study was to assess pregnant women's knowledge about obstetric danger signs in Aleta Wondo district, Sidama Zone, South Ethiopia.
A community based cross-sectional study was conducted from January 18 – February 20, 2007, on a sample of 812 pregnant women selected from, 8 rural and 2 urban Kebeles. A structured pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data on socio-demographic characteristics, obstetric history, and knowledge about danger signs of pregnancy, childbirth and post partum period. Qualitative data was collected through focus group discussion with pregnant women and in-depth interview with traditional birth attendants. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows version 12.0.1.
Seven hundred forty three pregnant women participated in the study making a response rate of 92%. Out of the 743 pregnant women who participated in this study 226 (30.4%), 305(41.3%) and 279(37.7%) knew at least two danger signs during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period, respectively. Being urban resident was consistently found to be strongly associated with mentioning at least two danger signs of pregnancy (OR=4.1; 95% CI: 2.4, 7.0), child birth (OR=3.3; 95% CI: 1.8, 6.1), and postpartum period (OR=8.4; 95% CI: 4.5, 15.4).
This study indicated that the knowledge level of pregnant women about obstetric danger signs (during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period) was low and affected by residential area. Therefore, the identified deficiencies in awareness should be addressed through maternal and child health services by designing an appropriate strategies including provision of targeted information, education and communication.
Danger signs; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Postpartum; Obstetric care
Obstetrical interventions, including caesarean sections, are increasing in Canada. Canadian women’s psychological states, fatigue, and sleep have not been examined prospectively for contributions to obstetric interventions and adverse neonatal outcomes.
Context and purpose of the study: The prospective study was conducted in British Columbia (BC), Canada with 650 low-risk pregnant women. Of those women, 624 were included in this study. Women were recruited through providers’ offices, media, posters, and pregnancy fairs. We examined associations between pregnant women’s fatigue, sleep deprivation, and psychological states (anxiety and childbirth fear) and women’s exposure to obstetrical interventions and adverse neonatal outcomes (preterm, admission to NICU, low APGARS, and low birth weight).
Data from our cross-sectional survey were linked, using women’s personal health numbers, to birth outcomes from the Perinatal Services BC database. After stratifying for parity, we used Pearson’s Chi-square to examine associations between psychological states, fatigue, sleep deprivation and maternal characteristics. We used hierarchical logistic regression modeling to test 9 hypotheses comparing women with high and low childbirth fear and anxiety on likelihood of having epidural anaesthetic, a caesarean section (stratified for parity), assisted vaginal delivery, and adverse neonatal outcomes and women with and without sleep deprivation and high levels of fatigue on likelihood of giving birth by caesarean section, while controlling for maternal, obstetrical (e.g., infant macrosomia), and psychological variables.
Significantly higher proportions of multiparas, reporting difficult and upsetting labours and births, expectations of childbirth interventions, and health stressors, reported high levels of childbirth fear. Women who reported antenatal relationship, housing, financial, and health stressors and multiparas reporting low family incomes were significantly more likely to report high anxiety levels. The hypothesis that high childbirth fear significantly increased the risk of using epidural anaesthesia was supported.
Controlling for some psychological states and sleep quality while examining other contributors to outcomes decreases the likelihood of linking childbirth fear anxiety, sleep deprivation, and fatigue to increased odds of caesarean section. Ameliorating women’s childbirth fear to reduce their exposure to epidural anaesthesia can occur through developing effective interventions. These include helping multiparous women process previous experiences of difficult and upsetting labour and birth.
Childbirth fear; Sleep deprivation; Fatigue; Anxiety; Obstetrical interventions; Neonatal outcomes
Severe falciparum malaria anaemia (SMA) is a frequent cause of mortality in children and pregnant women. The most important determinant of SMA appears to be the loss of non-parasitized red blood cells (np-RBCs) in excess of loss of parasitized (p-) RBCs at schizogony. Based on data from acute SMA where excretion of haemoglobin in urine and increased plasma haemoglobin represented respectively less than 1% and 0.5% of total Hb loss, phagocytosis appears to be the predominant mechanism of removal of np- and p-RBC.
Estimates indicate that np-RBCs are cleared in approximately 10-fold excess compared to p-RBCs. An even larger removal of np-RBCs has been described in vivax malaria anaemia. Estimates were based on two single studies both performed on neurosyphilitic patients who underwent malaria therapy. As the share of np-RBC removal is likely to vary between wide limits, it is important to assess the contribution of both np- and p-RBC populations to overall RBC loss, and disclose the mechanism of such variability. As available methods do not discriminate between the removal of np- vs p-RBCs, the purpose of this study was to set up a system allowing the simultaneous determination of phagocytosis of p- and np-RBC in the same sample.
Methods and Results
Phagocytosis of p- and np-RBCs was quantified in the same sample using double-labelled target cells and the human phagocytic cell-line THP-1, pre-activated by TNF and IFNγ to enhance their phagocytic activity. Target RBCs were double-labelled with fluorescent carboxyfluorescein-succinimidyl ester (CF-SE) and the DNA label ethidium bromide (EB). EB, a DNA label, allowed to discriminate p-RBCs that contain parasitic DNA from the np-RBCs devoid of DNA. FACS analysis of THP-1 cells fed with double-labelled RBCs showed that p- and np-RBCs were phagocytosed in different proportions in relation to parasitaemia.
The assay allowed the analysis of phagocytosis rapidly and with low subjective error, and the differentiation between phagocytosed p- and np-RBCs in the same sample. The presented method may help to analyse the factors or conditions that modulate the share of np-RBC removal in vitro and in vivo and lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of SMA.
Malaria anaemia; Phagocytosis method; THP-1 cells; Phagocyte
Although the prevalence of depression is similar in pregnant, postpartum and non-pregnant women, the onset of new depression is higher during the perinatal period. Women of low-income, and those living in low and middle income countries, are known to be at particularly high risk. Early identification and treatment of antenatal depression may improve pregnancy outcomes and could serve as an early indicator of postnatal depression. Culturally sensitive and accurate diagnostic tools are urgently needed.
A consecutive series of 109 pregnant women were recruited in the third trimester at a primary health clinic, in a rural part of South Africa, with a high HIV prevalence. A cross sectional assessment of depression was completed using a structured clinical interview method and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Qualitative data on women's descriptions of depressive symptoms was also collected. The aim was to examine the prevalence of depression and to better understand the presentation of depressive symptomatology in this population.
Prevalence of depression was high, 51/109 (47%), with over half of the depressed women 34/51(67%) reporting episode duration greater than two months. 8/51 reported a prior history of depression. Women used psychological language to describe symptoms and, as a result, standardised diagnostic tools were culturally sensitive. Somatic pregnancy symptoms were frequently reported, but did not overestimate depression. Both HIV positive (27/51) and HIV negative (24/51) women were at risk of being depressed.
The study is limited by the small sample size and possible attrition biases.
Antenatal depression is high and clinical presentation is similar to high income countries. Standardised diagnostic tools are culturally sensitive and adequate for early detection.
Depression; Antenatal; Postnatal; Pregnancy; HIV; South Africa
Immunoreactive human serum prolactin of pituitary origin has been measured by a radioimmunoassay developed for ovine prolactin. Blood samples were collected at four-hour intervals during a 24-hour period from 12 non-pregnant women, three pregnant women, and seven adult men. A circadian periodicity was found in serum prolactin concentration, with peak values during the night, between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for the non-pregnant women, and at 5 a.m. for the adult men. Mean serum levels of prolactin were 1·5 times higher in non-pregnant women than in men. In women investigated during the last month of their pregnancy the mean serum prolactin levels were 2·3 times higher than in the non-pregnant women, but there was no circadian periodicity.
Reference values for hematological and biochemical assays in pregnant women and in newborn infants are based primarily on Caucasian populations. Normative data are limited for populations in sub-Saharan Africa, especially comparing women with and without HIV infection, and comparing infants with and without HIV infection or HIV exposure.
We determined HIV status and selected hematological and biochemical measurements in women at 20–24 weeks and at 36 weeks gestation, and in infants at birth and 4–6 weeks of age. All were recruited within a randomized clinical trial of antibiotics to prevent chorioamnionitis-associated mother-to-child transmission of HIV (HPTN024). We report nearly complete laboratory data on 2,292 HIV-infected and 367 HIV-uninfected pregnant African women who were representative of the public clinics from which the women were recruited. Nearly all the HIV-infected mothers received nevirapine prophylaxis at the time of labor, as did their infants after birth (always within 72 hours of birth, but typically within just a few hours at the four study sites in Malawi (2 sites), Tanzania, and Zambia.
HIV-infected pregnant women had lower red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and white blood cell counts than HIV-uninfected women. Platelet and monocyte counts were higher among HIV-infected women at both time points. At the 4–6-week visit, HIV-infected infants had lower hemoglobin, hematocrit and white blood cell counts than uninfected infants. Platelet counts were lower in HIV-infected infants than HIV-uninfected infants, both at birth and at 4–6 weeks of age. At 4–6 weeks, HIV-infected infants had higher alanine aminotransferase measures than uninfected infants.
Normative data in pregnant African women and their newborn infants are needed to guide the large-scale HIV care and treatment programs being scaled up throughout the continent. These laboratory measures will help interpret clinical data and assist in patient monitoring in a sub-Saharan Africa context.
nicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00021671.