What Is The Optimum Maternal Haemoglobin Concentration Level For A Normal Birth Weight in Lagos?

  • Bosede B Afolabi Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba,
  • Oluwarotimi I Akinola Ayinke House, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.


Context: The level of maternal haemoglobin concentration necessary for normal birth weight may differ from that used to define anaemia.
Objective: To estimate the optimum haemoglobin concentration in labour in relation to birth weight.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: The labour ward of Ayinke House, Ikeja General Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.
Subjects: One hundred consecutive booked patients presenting in established labour.
Intervention: Estimation of haemoglobin concentration from venous blood samples of each patient.
Main Outcome Measures: Relationship between haemoglobin concentration, mean birth weight and incidence of low birth weight.
Results: The mean haemoglobin concentration was 122. 18g/L. The lowest incidence of low birth weight was found in the haemoglobin less than 100 g/L group. Mean birth weight fell when the haemoglobin concentration rose above 140 g/L. The incidence of low birth weight (birth weight lower than 2500g) also increased in the haemoglobin greater than 140g/L group.
Conclusion: This study shows the possibility that the levels of haemoglobin concentration at which we diagnose anaemia in pregnancy in our environment may be higher than what is needed for normal neonatal birth weight, and that levels of maternal haemoglobin concentration above 140 g/L may be undesirable in our environment as far as birth weight is concerned. A larger study will be done to determine the optimal levels of maternal haemoglobin concentration.
[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2004;21:4- 6]

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