Impact of sickle cell disease and thalassemias in infants on birth outcomes

Valerie Whiteman, Abraham Salinas, Hanna E. Weldeselasse, Euna M. August, Alfred K. Mbah, Muktar H. Aliyu, Hamisu M. Salihu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The contribution of sickle cell disease (SCD) and other common thalassemias in infants to adverse birth outcomes is under-studied. We therefore sought to compare adverse birth outcomes in infants with and without hemoglobinopathy. Study design: Retrospective cohort study utilizing a population-based dataset from Florida (1998-2007, n = 1,564,038). The primary outcomes were low birthweight (LBW), very low birthweight (VLBW), preterm birth (PTB), very preterm birth (VPTB) and small for gestational age (SGA). We used propensity scores to match infants with hemoglobinopathy to those without hemoglobinopathy on selected variables. To approximate relative risks, we generated adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) from logistic regression models and accounted for the matched design using generalized estimating equations framework. Results: Infants with SCD or thalassemia had a heightened risk for LBW (AOR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.29-1.93), VLBW (AOR = 3.01, 95% CI: 2.12-4.25), PTB (AOR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.12-1.65), VPTB (AOR = 2.70, 95% CI: 1.93-3.78), and neurological conditions (AOR = 2.04, 95% CI: 1.48-2.81) compared to infants without hemoglobinopathy. Conclusion: Infants with SCD or thalassemia experience considerably higher risks for multiple infant morbidities. Our findings are potentially important in prenatal counseling, as well as for targeted care of affected pregnancies in the prenatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-328
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Birth outcomes
  • Hemoglobinopathy
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell
  • Thalassemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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