Published: 2016-12-15

Prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in rural India: a longitudinal observational study

Mishu Mangla, Deepak Singla


Background: Anemia is a major public health problem affecting both the developed as well as the developing countries. According to World Health Organization, prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in developed countries is about 14%, whereas it is still as high as 51% in the developing world. The aim of the present study was to understand the health profile and the socio demographic factors of the country’s rural pregnant females and to estimate the exact prevalence of anemia and its associated factors among pregnant women at term based on the level of hemoglobin.

Methods: This was a prospective, longitudinal cross sectional study. Hemoglobin estimates from pregnant females at term using antenatal care services or delivery services in a general hospital in a rural area of India, from September 2014 to March 2015 i.e. a period of 6 months, were obtained. The incidence of anemia and its associated socio demographic factors was studied. Although the overall prevalence of anaemia did not vary significantly with literacy level, the severity of anaemia differs to a great extent.

Results: The prevalence of anemia was 98% among the pregnant females in this region of rural India. Out of these 41.76% had mild anemia, 37.05% had moderate anemia, 15.88% had severe anemia and 3.29% very severe anemia according to ICMR classification of anemia. The mean hemoglobin level was found to be 8.845. The number of ANC visits in present pregnancy and whether the pregnant female had taken iron folic acid prophylaxis also were very significant variables in the determination of prevalence as well as the severity of anemia.

Conclusions: There is a significantly high prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in rural areas of India. Our study has also enlisted a few socio demographic factors that contribute to such high prevalence of this disease. Programs focused on target population need to be planned and implemented with active participation of locals.


Anemia, Socio demographic factors, Pregnancy at term

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