Umbilical Cord Blood Screening for Congenital Iron Deficiency in Neonates Born by Cesarean Section

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Babylon, Babylon, Iraq

2 Department of Pediatrics, Babil Health Directorate, Iraq Ministry of Health, Iraq

3 Medical Laboratories Techniques Department, Al-Mustaqbal University College, Babylon, Iraq


Background: A high level of hemoglobin at birth is one of the iron reserves needed by infants to deal with iron deficiency anemia. This study aimed to assess the iron status in neonates born by cesarean section and the effect of maternal characteristics and other laboratory measures on neonatal iron levels. Moreover, it was designed to investigate anemia and identify its factors.
Methods: This descriptive correlational study was conducted in 2022 on 50 neonates by caesarean section in Babylon Hospital, Iraq. Serum ferritin and other laboratory parameters from neonatal umbilical cord blood were measured in addition to others that had been recorded for both neonates and their mothers.
Results: The data were analyzed using the t-test. Out of 50 neonates, 8 infants had low serum ferritin levels and 4 of these 8 had anemia, and 6 of them were born to mothers from rural areas. The mean maternal age of neonates with low serum ferritin was significantly higher than those with normal or high serum ferritin. The results showed that the place of residence and its clean climate and healthy nutrition can have a direct effect on the ferritin level. No significant effect of serum ferritin on WBC, reticulocytes, and platelet counts was observed in this study.
Conclusion: Anemia is significantly associated with low serum ferritin neonates; in addition, maternal age and residence have significant effects on neonatal serum ferritin. Considering the high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in mothers and even in mothers with proper nutrition, iron deficiency in the mother leads to a decrease in the baby's reserves and makes him susceptible to iron deficiency in the first months after birth. The importance of using iron supplements during pregnancy becomes clearer, and one should not be satisfied only with diet. Due to the adverse effects of increasing the number of pregnancies on the mother's iron reserves, appropriate spacing should be observed.


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