JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Haematological values in pregnant women in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

BACKGROUND: Conflicting results have been documented regarding the statistical significance of variations in some haematological parameters at different trimesters of pregnancy. Environmental factors, ethnic and tribal peculiarities have variously been implicated. The values of eight important haematological parameters: Haematocrit (Hct), Haemoglobin concentration (Hbc), Red Blood Cell (RBC) count, White Blood Cell (WBC) count, Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin (MCH), Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) were therefore determined in healthy pregnant subjects receiving antenatal care at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

METHOD: Cross-sectional prospective study involving 130 pregnant subjects aged between 18 and 43 years. The subjects were divided into three groups consisting of 46 subjects in the first trimester, 36 subjects in the second trimester and 48 subjects in the third trimester of pregnancy. The height, weight and body mass index of all subjects were also determined.

RESULTS: Results obtained for the haematological parameters indicate that only Haematocrit (Hct) showed significant differences amongst the three groups; highest amongst subjects in the third trimester and lowest amongst subjects in the second trimester (p < 0.05). Haemoglobin concentration (Hbc), Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin (MCH), Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC), and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) were found to be highest amongst subjects in the second trimester; Red Blood Cell (RBC) count and White Blood Cell (WBC) count were highest amongst subjects in the first trimester of pregnancy. These differences were however, not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Among the anthropometric parameters studied, only weight showed significant differences in the three groups of pregnant subjects (p < 0.05); being highest amongst subjects in the third trimester and lowest in subjects in the first trimester.

CONCLUSION: The present study provides additional baseline data for basic haematological parameters in healthy pregnant Nigerian women. This would be of immense benefit especially in the antenatal assessment of pregnant Nigerian women.

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