Anaemia during pregnancy is major health problem. There is conflicting literature regarding the association between anaemia and its severity and maternal and perinatal outcomes.
This is a retrospective case-control study conducted at Kassala hospital, eastern Sudan. Medical files of pregnant women with severe anaemia (haemoglobin (Hb) < 7 g/dl, n = 303) who delivered from January 2008 to December 2010 were reviewed. Socio-demographic and obstetric data were analysed and compared with a similar number of women with mild/moderate anaemia (Hb = 7-10.9 g/dl, n = 303) and with no anaemia (Hb > 11 g/dl, n = 303). Logistic regression analysis was performed separately for each of the outcome measures: preeclampsia, eclampsia, preterm birth, low birth weight (LBW) and stillbirth.
There were 9578 deliveries at Kassala hospital, 4012 (41.8%) women had anaemia and 303 (3.2%) had severe anaemia. The corrected risk for preeclampsia increased only in severe anaemia (OR = 3.6, 95% CI: 1.4-9.1, P = 0.007). Compared with women with no anaemia, the risk of LBW was 2.5 times higher in women with mild/moderate anaemia (95% CI: 1.1-5.7), and 8.0 times higher in women with severe anaemia (95% CI: 3.8-16.0). The risk of preterm delivery increased significantly with the severity of anaemia (OR = 3.2 for women with mild/moderate anaemia and OR = 6.6 for women with severe anaemia, compared with women with no anaemia). The corrected risk for stillbirth increased only in severe anaemia (OR = 4.3, 95% CI: 1.9-9.1, P < 0.001).
The greater the severity of the anaemia during pregnancy, the greater the risk of preeclampsia, preterm delivery, LBW and stillbirth. Preventive measures should be undertaken to decrease the prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy.