Raised haemoglobin levels linked to increased risk of stillbirth

High levels of haemoglobin during early pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. Dr Olof Stephansson and colleagues from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute reviewed more than 700 women who had had a stillbirth. Those with haemoglobin levels of 146g/L or higher at their first antenatal appointment appeared to be almost twice as likely to have a stillbirth compared with women who had normal levels. This link seemed to be stronger still after adjusting for stillbirths that occur

By | November 28, 2000

High levels of haemoglobin during early pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. Dr Olof Stephansson and colleagues from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute reviewed more than 700 women who had had a stillbirth. Those with haemoglobin levels of 146g/L or higher at their first antenatal appointment appeared to be almost twice as likely to have a stillbirth compared with women who had normal levels. This link seemed to be stronger still after adjusting for stillbirths that occurred following pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, or when the baby was malformed. For still births that were a result of a premature labour there was a three times greater risk for those with high haemoglobin levels.

The study, published in 22 November Journal of the American Medical Association, also revealed that a large decrease in haemoglobin could have a protective effect. Although, a strong association was found with high haemoglobin levels, the researchers were keen to point out that compared with other risk factors such as smoking, high haemoglobin levels carry a small risk.

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