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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Jan;164(1 Pt 1):59-63.

Anemia and spontaneous preterm birth.

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Division of Prevention Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The association between anemia during pregnancy and spontaneous preterm birth was studied with a two-stage case-control design in a large, multiethnic cohort. Results of all hematologic measurements were abstracted from the prenatal and delivery records of 1706 of the 26,901 women in the cohort. Among women delivered of infants at term, mean hematocrit value was low during the early phase of the second trimester, stable until near term, then reached a maximum at 40 weeks' gestation. The mean hematocrit value of black women was consistently lower than that of Asian, Mexican, and white women. Anemia (hematocrit value less than the tenth percentile for ethnic group and duration of pregnancy) at any time during the second trimester was positively associated with subsequent spontaneous preterm birth (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 2.8). Compared with white women, the odds ratios for preterm birth were 2.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.4) for black, 1.2 (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 1.6) for Asian, and 1.2 (95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.5) for Mexican women. Adjustment for second-trimester anemia had minimal influence on the odds ratios. We conclude that anemia during the second trimester was associated with preterm birth. However, it does not account for the large ethnic differences in preterm birth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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