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High Prevalence of Postpartum Anemia among Low-Income Women in the United States


Bodnar, Lisa Marie; Scanlon, Kelley S.; Freedman, David S.; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; & Cogswell, Mary E. (2001). High Prevalence of Postpartum Anemia among Low-Income Women in the United States. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 185(2), 438-443.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of anemia from 4 to 26 weeks post partum and to examine prenatal predictors of postpartum anemia.
Study design: Retrospective cohort analysis of 59,428 participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children in 12 US states.
Results: The prevalence of postpartum anemia was 27%. Anemia rates were higher among minority women, reaching 48% among non-Hispanic black women. Of 9129 women who had normal hemoglobin in the third trimester, 21% had postpartum anemia. Prenatal anemia was the strongest predictor of postpartum anemia (adjusted odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 2.5-2.8). Maternal obesity, multiple birth, and not breast-feeding also predicted postpartum anemia.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of post partum anemia among low-income women highlights the importance of anemia screening at 4 to 6 weeks post partum. These data suggest that screening should not be limited, as it is at present, to women considered at high risk.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology


Bodnar, Lisa Marie
Scanlon, Kelley S.
Freedman, David S.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Cogswell, Mary E.