n Medical Technology SA - Heamoglobin response to routine iron and folate supplementation during pregnancy in an HIV-endemic rural area roma, Lesotho

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-5528


Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anaemia during pregnancy in African settings. Pregnancy and HIV are important risk factors for iron deficiency anaemia. The study assessed the occurrence of anaemia during pregnancy, the response to iron and folate supplements and the associated factors. The assessment was based on quantitative retrospective data of 126 pregnant women who attended antenatal care (ANC) between February and April 2014 in Roma, Lesotho and had haemoglobin (Hb) values taken at first ANC visit (baseline) and at term of gestation. Forty (31.8%) women were HIV-positive and 23 (57.5%) of them were anaemic at baseline. In total, 50 (39.5%) women had anaemia at baseline. The mean Hb at term was significantly higher (p<0.001) than that at baseline. Overall, 26 (20.6%) women had sub-optimal Hb response to iron and folate supplements, fifty-percent of whom were HIV-positive. Notably, 3 (2.4%) women developed anaemia while on supplements. Late first ANC visit (p=0.01), anaemia atbaseline (p<0.001) and HIV-positive status (p=0.024) were significantly associated with sub-optimal Hb response. There is need to encourage early reporting for ANC and closely monitor women with HIV and/or anaemia at first ANC visit.

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