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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Apr;105(4):385-90.

Anaemia in pregnancy in developing countries.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical College Malawi.



Anemia in pregnancy continues to be a serious problem in many developing countries, with significant adverse effects for both mother and infant. This article summarizes the available literature on anemia in pregnancy in developing countries, with emphasis on prevalence, etiology, and consequences. Prevalence data, especially from rural populations, are inadequate and little effort has been made to establish local etiologic patterns. Although emphasis has been placed on the role of nutritional deficiencies (especially iron) in anemia, the etiology is likely multifactorial. The relative contribution of etiologic factors such as iron and folate deficiencies, hemoglobinopathies, and malaria and hookworm infestation vary by geographic region and season. Anemia in pregnancy has been associated with increased risks of premature labor and low birth weight. There is an immediate need to assess more carefully the local etiologic factors and then design new strategies for prevention and treatment.

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