The effect of maternal anemia and iron deficiency on fetal erythropoiesis: Comparison between serum erythropoietin, hemoglobin and ferritin levels in mothers and newborns

Erdem A., ERDEM M., Arslan M., Yazici G., Eskandari R., Hirnmetoglu Ö.

Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, vol.11, no.5, pp.329-332, 2002 (Scopus) identifier identifier


Objective: Maternal and fetal serum erythropoietin levels were correlated with hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume and serum ferritin in a group of anemic pregnant women to evaluate the effect of maternal anemia on fetal erythropoiesis. Methods: Serum erythropoietin, ferritin, hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume were investigated in 33 pregnant women with anemia, 11 women with normal hematological parameters and in their newborns. Results: Maternal serum erythropoietin concentration (mean ± SEM) was significantly higher in the anemic group (145.2 ± 42.9 mU/ml) as compared to the control group (37.3 ± 7.6 mU/ml) (p < 0.05). In newborns, all parameters were comparable in both groups except cord serum erythropoietin concentration (mean ± SEM) which was significantly higher in newborns born to anemic women (43.9 ± 5.3 mU/ml) than controls (29.4 ± 3.7 mU/ml) (p < 0.05). In the anemic group, maternal serum erythropoietin was inversely correlated to maternal hemoglobin (r = -0.375, p = 0.03), maternal hemoglobin was inversely correlated to cord serum erythropoietin (r = -0.552, p = 0.001) and maternal ferritin was correlated to fetal ferritin (r = 0.521, p = 0.002). Conclusion: Although cord hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume were not affected by maternal anemia, increased cord serum erythropoietin levels related to low maternal hemoglobin levels suggest an induced fetal erythropoiesis in maternal anemia.