Relationship between anaemia, coagulation parameters during pregnancy and postpartum haemorrhage at childbirth: a prospective cohort study

BMJ Open. 2021 Oct 4;11(10):e050815. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050815.


Objectives: To investigate the association between coagulation parameters and severity of anaemia (moderate anaemia: haemoglobin (Hb) 7-9.9 g/dL and severe anaemia: Hb <7 g/dL) during pregnancy and relate these to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) at childbirth.

Design: A prospective cohort study of pregnant women recruited in the third trimester and followed-up after childbirth.

Setting: Ten hospitals across four states in India.

Participants: 1342 pregnant women.

Intervention: Not applicable.

Methods: Hb and coagulation parameters: fibrinogen, D-dimer, D-dimer/fibrinogen ratio, platelets and international normalised ratio (INR) were measured at baseline. Participants were followed-up to measure blood loss within 2 hours after childbirth and PPH was defined based on blood loss and clinical assessment. Associations between coagulation parameters, Hb, anaemia and PPH were examined using multivariable logistic regression models.

Outcomes measures: Adjusted OR with 95% CI.

Results: In women with severe anaemia during the third trimester, the D-dimer was 27% higher, mean fibrinogen 117 mg/dL lower, D-dimer/fibrinogen ratio 69% higher and INR 12% higher compared with women with no/mild anaemia. Mean platelets in severe anaemia was 37.8×109/L lower compared with women with moderate anaemia. Similar relationships with smaller effect sizes were identified for women with moderate anaemia compared with women with no/mild anaemia. Low Hb and high INR at third trimester of pregnancy independently increased the odds of PPH at childbirth, but the other coagulation parameters were not found to be significantly associated with PPH.

Conclusion: Altered blood coagulation profile in pregnant women with severe anaemia could be a risk factor for PPH and requires further evaluation.

Keywords: anaemia; epidemiology; obstetrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia* / epidemiology
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parturition
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies