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J Perinat Med. 1995;23(1-2):51-9.

Erythropoiesis in the postpartum period.

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Department of Obstetrics, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.


The puerperium is a time of immense physiological changes for the female organism. Erythropoiesis plays one of the central roles in these processes. The aim of this investigation was to describe physiological erythropoiesis in healthy women during the puerperium. Blood samples were taken just before delivery and on days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 14 postpartum. In addition to the usual parameters such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets, leucocytes, ferritin, CRP, endogenous erythropoietin, etc., the absolute and the percentage reticulocyte counts-both the total and for the subpopulations-were determined by flow cytometry. The mean Hb values decreased in the first 24 hours postpartum by 0.8 g/dl and then rose to 0.2 g/dl more than the initial value on day 14. The reticulocytes reflected erythropoietic stimulation with an increase from day 0 to day 1 of 2.1% (79.1 x 10(9)/1) and a continual decrease thereafter. The hematological parameters followed a characteristic course in the puerperium. For the reticulocytes and the subpopulations, a definite erythropoietic stimulation was evident even before delivery, as was an increase in the erythropoietic activity in the early puerperium.

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