Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a worldwide problem and is also prevalent in Pakistan. It is usually associated with pregnancy. The present study was conducted to assess anemia among pregnant women (150 cases in the 1st phase and 50 cases in the 2nd phase), attending antenatal clinic of Jinnah Hospital, Lahore. Objectives of this study were to find out the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy in selected group of subjects, to study the effects of age, parity, and period of gestation and socioeconomic status on the development of iron deficiency anemia. The study further helped to investigate dietary intake and to develop its relationship with height gain and hemoglobin levels and to give recommendations regarding the improvement of health in general and enhance health education of pregnant women in particular. Degree of anemia was estimated by determining percentage hemoglobin (Hb), Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC). With the help of a questionnaire, each pregnant woman was inquired about her age, parity, socioeconomic status, education, per capita income, stage of pregnancy and interval since last pregnancy. The dietary pattern based on 24 Hour recall and food frequency table was also studied.
It was found that occurrence of anemia is most common in the age group of 20-30 years. It was also found that Hb concentration was improved with the educational status of pregnant women and their husbands. Hb concentration improved with the increase in per capita family income. However, increase in gravidity and lesser interval since last pregnancy had an adverse effect on Hb level.
A directly proportional relationship was established between Hemoglobin Concentration and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC), in all the three trisemesters.
A similar relationship was found between Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and Hemoglobin percentage i.e. increase in Hemoglobin concentration resulted in increase in Packed Cell Volume.
The study based on dietary intake reflected a direct impact of diet on hemoglobin levels in pregnant women. The cases consuming greater calories and higher amount of nutrients especially protein and iron showed a correspondence increase in hemoglobin levels. Majority of subjects consumed carbohydrate-rich diet and showed a deficit of 32.63% of energy intake, in comparison with caloric intake for pregnant women.