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A cross sectional study was conducted at Federal Medical Center Owerri to determine the haemoglobin, packed cell volume and iron status of pregnant women with anaemia and those without anaemia who served as control group. Seventy subject were recruited and were grouped into fivtyanaemic women and twenty ninanaemic women. Haemoglobin and PCV were estimated by common laboratory method while iron status was analysed using appropriate laboratory kit. The result indicated that haemoglobin concentration of the test subjects (10.00 ±1.77g/dl) was statistically significantly lower when compared with that of Control subject (11.84 ±1.03g/dl). Packed cell volume of Test subject (29.76± 5.27%) was significantly lower than that of Control (35.35± 3.05%).  Serum iron and Ferritin of the test subject (6.88± 2.59umol/l and 10.02± 2.15umol/l respectively) were significantly lower when compared with that control (21.30 ±3.05umol/l and 64.95± 44.18umol/l); while TIBC was significantly higher in test subject (181.84± 99.85umol/l) than the control subjects (72.50± 11.48umol/l). In conclusion anaemia in pregnancy produces various ill effects, both for mother and foetus, hence for prevention of anaemia, early diagnosis is essential. This study found that there were significant differences in all the haematological parameters (PCV and Hb) between the anaemic and the non-anaemic pregnant women. All the changes were suggestive of anaemia, hence the above parameters can be used to determine the status of anaemia in pregnancy.








According to Okafor et al., (2013), Anemia is a global public health problem affecting both developing and developed countries with major consequences for human health as well as social and economic development. It occurs at all stages of the life cycle, but it is prevalent in pregnant women and young children. As noted by World Health Organization (WHO, 2010), the importance of good hemoglobin concentration and good iron store during pregnancy for both the woman and the growing foetus cannot be overemphasized. Being a driving force for oxygen for the mother and foetus, a reduction below acceptable levels can be detrimental to both (Agan et al.,2010). Traditionally as defined by Bull, (2006), anemia can be define as a decrease in the ability of blood to carry oxygen due to a decrease in the total number of erythrocytes, a diminished concentration of haemoglobin per erythrocyte, or a combination of both. A haemoglobin concentration below 11.0g/dl or a packed cell volume (PCV) of less than 33.0% is regarded as anaemia during pregnancy by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2010).

Iron-deficiency has been noted to accounts for the major cause of  of anaemia especially in pregnancy (WHO, 2010)  and is defined as an anaemia accompanied by a depleted iron stores and a compromised iron delivery to tissues.  In their study, Bursary et al., (2008), stated that iron deficiency is usually caused by nutritional deficiency or low iron stores resulting from previous pregnancy or previous heavy menstrual blood loss. Many researches have demonstrated that the physiological requirements for iron in pregnancy are three times higher, than in non-pregnant menstruating women and that this requirement for iron increases as pregnancy advances. Iron deficiency anaemia is a serious health problem in the gestation-puerperal period as it is associated with several adverse perinatal outcomes like prematurity, lowbirthwight, maternal and perinatal mortality. It has been noted as one of the most intractable public health problems in developing countries and one of the commonest complications in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria as a nation (Bursary et al., 2008).

Epidemiologically, the World Health Organization estimates that anemia affects over half of the pregnant women in developing countries (Omigbodum, 2004). Recent estimates in the developing countries including Nigeria put the prevalence at 60.0% in pregnancy and about 7.0% of these women are said to be severely anemic (Komolafe et al., 2005). In their publication, van den Broek and Letsky, (2000)  stated that the high prevalence and the etiological factors responsible for anaemia in pregnancy are multiple and their relative contributions are said to vary by geographical area and by season.

Anaemia in pregnancy may be relative or absolute.  Relative anaemia is a normal physiological phenomenon that occurs in pregnancy due to larger increase in plasma volume (approximately 45.0% in singleton and 50.0–60.0% in twin gestation) than in red cell mass, resulting in the well-known physiological anaemia of pregnancy. Absolute anaemia involves a true decrease in red cell mass, involving increased red cell destruction as in haemoglobinopathy, malaria, and bacterial infection like urinary tract infection; increased red cell loss as in bleeding; or decreased red cell production as in nutritional deficiency such as iron or folate or in chronic disease (Burkar et al.,2009).

According to Adimma et al.,(2002), the predisposing factors of anaemia in pregnancy in Nigeria include young age, grand multiparity, low socioeconomic status, illiteracy, ignorance, and short inter pregnancy intervals. Infection with hookworm and intestinal helminthes causes gastrointestinal blood loss resulting in depletion of the iron stores and consequently impaired erythropoiesis. They also lead to mal-absorption and inhibition of appetite, thereby worsening micronutrients deficiency and maternal anaemia.


Iron supplementation is noted as the primary treatment for iron deficiency anaemia however, the administration route differs according to individual needs and prevalence of adverse effects. Iron-rich foods and iron-fortified foods are also recommended for patients with iron deficiency especially those with major risk factors for the condition (example pregnant women). Short and long-term effects of iron deficiency anaemia on the development of a fetus or an infant are also being studied in conjunction with prophylactic and therapeutic iron supplementation both before and during pregnancy (Bánhidy et al., 2011).




Iron deficiency affects a significant part, and often a majority of the population

in nearly every country in the world. Programmes for the prevention of iron deficiency particularly iron supplementation for pregnant women are under way in most countries of the world as reported by WHO in 1992 however, most of these intervention programmes are neither systematically implemented nor well monitored or evaluated and this still present a problem in managing anemia due to nutritional deficiency like iron. The situation is still worst at large in developing countries like Nigeria. In Nigeria, anemia specifically iron deficiency anemia is highly prevalent among pregnant women due to many factors and has been noted to contribute to an increase rate of maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria.



Surveillance of iron deficiency involves an ongoing process of recording and assessing iron status in an individual or a community. Worldwide, the most common method of screening individuals or populations for iron deficiency involves determining the prevalence of anaemia by measuring blood haemoglobin or haematocrit levels.

A major limitation of each of these two tests however, lies in the fact that anaemia is not a specific indication of iron deficiency. As noted in most literature other nutrient deficiencies and most infectious diseases can also result in significant anaemia. Another limitation of haemoglobin or haematocrit measurements is that levels change only when they are very low at the outset and when iron deficiency is already severe. In resource-adequate situations the usual practice involves the use of further, specific, and more sensitive tests for individual assessment. These measurement of serum iron level, serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, and others and these reasons informed the rationale to embark on this study.






The study aims

  • To determine the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at Owerri Imo state.
  • To determine and identify the possible risk factors of iron deficiency among the subject group.
  • To evaluate the diagnostic importance of blood film, hematocrit and heamoglobin concentration in the early diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia as compared to measurement of total serum iron, serum ferritin level.



This research work is targeted at pregnant women at different trimesters of their pregnancy who are at most risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia or post sequels/complications of the disease conditions.






The following challenges may be encountered during the course of this research

  • Due to the invasive proceduere involve in blood collection, it is expected that most patient may decline to participate in the study.
  • Also it is expected that the cost of running the research work will be high as the prices of most reagents in the market has doubled.



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