Beyond Routine Abortion Practice: Identifying Adolescents and Young Adults at Risk for Anemia

Jessica Y. Shim*, Jessica M. Madrigal, Juan Aparicio, Ashlesha Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of anemia among female adolescents and young adults seeking abortion care at a county hospital, and to determine its associated factors. Design: A cross-sectional retrospective study. Setting: John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. Participants: Young women (N = 2916; ages 11-24 years) who underwent first trimester medical or surgical termination in 2016. Interventions and Main Outcome Measures: Hemoglobin concentration at time of presentation, age, gestational age, body mass index, race/ethnicity, education, sexually transmitted infection status, and insurance status. Results: On average, women were 21 (SD, 2.2) years old, 87% (2545 of 2916) African-American, and 64% (1863 of 2916) were Medicaid recipients. Gestational age at time of presentation ranged from 4 weeks 6 days to 13 weeks 6 days, and 58% (1695 of 2916) had surgical termination. Overall, 16% (451 of 2916) had hemoglobin concentrations of less than 11 g/dL. Categorization of severity showed that 4% (126 of 2916) of women had moderate and 11% (325 of 2916) had mild anemia. Only 2.6% of women (75 of 2916) had any history of anemia, and 91% (412 of 451) of anemic women did not have a preexisting anemia diagnosis. Fifteen percent of anemic women (51 of 451) had positive sexually transmitted infection screening, but positive status was not associated with anemia in crude or multivariable models (P =.4-.6). In a multivariable model, later gestational age, decreasing body mass index, and multiparity were significantly associated with anemia prevalence after adjustment. Conclusion: Our study showed an elevated prevalence of undiagnosed anemia. Ultimately, the abortion care setting can be an intersection for continued ambulatory care and provides an important opportunity to diagnose and educate young women on anemia management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-472
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Abortion care
  • Adolescents
  • Anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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