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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1986;80(2):249-55.

Anaemia of pregnancy in Mozambique.


To establish the prevalence of anaemia in pregnant women in Mozambique and to determine the locally most important causes of the disease, 881 pregnant women were examined at nine sites in seven of Mozambique's 10 provinces. In Maputo, the capital city, an additional 91 anaemic gravidae were compared to 207 parturients chosen at random. The study comprised interviews, and clinical and laboratory investigations. Between 5 and 15% of the pregnant women at the different sites had haemoglobin (Hb) values below 90 g/l and 58% had levels below 110 g/l. Inspection of mucosal membranes detected almost all the anaemic women with Hb values below 80 g/l. Nulliparous women were more prone to be anaemic. Iron deficiency and malaria were the main causes of anaemia, with malnutrition also contributing. Occasional cases of folic acid deficiency were found among severely anaemic women but no cases of significant deficiency of vitamin B12 were encountered. Sickle cell disease was not found to contribute significantly to anaemia of pregnancy in Mozambique. The mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) proved more sensitive, under these conditions, than serum ferritin in detecting iron deficiency in anaemic women. Packed cell volume (PCV) analysis may substitute Hb analysis when screening for pregnancy anaemia in Mozambique.

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