Low iron stores in preconception nulliparous women; a two-center cross-sectional study in peri-urban Ghana.


Department of Medical Laboratory Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : The nutritional status of women affects pregnancy outcomes. Preconception care adequately prepares women for the demands of pregnancy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prepregnancy iron status of nulliparous women in Ghana to provide empirical data to inform policy formulation.
METHODS : We recruited 336 nulliparous women of reproductive age from Denkyembour District and Ejura Municipal assemblies, respectively, in the Eastern and Ashanti regions of Ghana. Serum ferritin was estimated to assess the women's iron stores. Hemoglobin (Hb) variants and fecal occult blood were determined for participants using cellulose acetate electrophoresis and lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay, respectively. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with depleted iron stores (ferritin < 15 ng/dL).
RESULTS : Whereas 41.5% of the women were anemic (Hb <11.5 g/dL), 34.5% were iron depleted (serum ferritin <15 g/mL; C-reactive protein <5 ng/dL). Also, 17.1% suffered from iron deficiency anemia (concomitant Hb <11.5 g/dL and serum ferritin <15 ng/dL). Serum ferritin significantly differed among the participants with anemia (P < 0.001). Multivariate regression analysis showed that age (<20 y: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 13.916, P = 0.002; 20-30 y: AOR, 4.304, P = 0.023), moderate anemia (AOR, 3.045, P = 0.004), Ashanti region (AOR, 3.984, P = 0.002), and mean cell volume <80 fL (AOR, 2.546, P = 0.003) were significantly associated with increased odds of having depleted iron stores. However, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio >0.85, educational status, or inherited Hb type were not significantly associated with depleted iron stores.
CONCLUSIONS : The high prevalence of depleted iron stores in nulliparous women is a severe public health problem that requires attention.


Anemia,Ferritin,Hemoglobin,Nulliparous women,Preconception care,Reproductive age,

OUR Recent Articles