Red cell mass during and after normal pregnancy

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1979 May;86(5):364-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1979.tb10611.x.


Red cell mass, derived from plasma volume and haematocrit, was calculated serially in 45 healthy women during pregnancy and 4 to 6 months after delivery. Compared to the non-pregnant, postpartum value there was a reduction of approximately 100 ml at 12 weeks gestation. An increase in red cell mass occurred thereafter: at 36 weeks gestation values 180 ml greater than the non-pregnant were found. Iron and folic acid supplements almost doubled this increment to 349 ml of red cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erythrocyte Volume* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Ferrous Compounds / pharmacology
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Plasma Volume
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy*


  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Folic Acid