SERUM FERRITIN LEVELS AND PREGNANCY OUTCOME IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BENIN TEACHING HOSPITAL
BACKGROUND: Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common cause of anaemia in pregnancy in developing countries. Iron deficiency with or without causing maternal anaemia could have adversely affect pregnancy. The iron stores in the body can be estimated by assaying the serum ferritin levels as this is the best non-invasive method and closely reflects that gotten form a bone marrow aspiration. When there is infection, hyperthyroidism or malignancy, the serum ferritin levels are increased and may not reflect a situation of iron deficiency even when it is present.
AIM: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between serum ferritin levels of women in spontaneous labour and their pregnancy outcome.
METHODOLOGY: This study was a cross-sectional analytic study conducted at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Two hundred and fifty (250) women in labour who met the inclusion criteria and gave informed consent were enrolled into the study. Blood samples were taken from these women for serum ferritin and Packed Cell Volume estimation. Relevant data was collected and filled into the data extraction sheet with analysis done thereafter.
RESULTS: The mean serum ferritin was 25.8 ± 17.0 μg/l. 9.2% of the women were found to have low serum ferritin (<12 μg/l). The age groups, parity, Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and social class of the women were significantly different between those with low serum ferritin and those with normal serum ferritin levels. Women with low serum ferritin were 19.6 times more likely to be anaemic (PCV < 30%). Women with low serum ferritin were also
more likely to have low birth weight babies (OR 30.545) and preterm deliveries (OR 4.360).1
The parity of the women significantly affected the relationship between the serum ferritin level and the birth weight of their babies (AOR 3.863).
CONCLUSION: This study has shown that a significant proportion of pregnant women have low iron stores. These women have also been shown to be more likely to have anaemia in pregnancy. Increasing parity and low social class have also been shown to put them at risk of having low iron stores. Women with low iron stores have also been shown to be at an increased risk of having preterm deliveries and low birth weight babies and these could increase the neonatal and infant morbidity and mortality.