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Background: Despite the fact that anaemia is a preventable morbidity in most cases, its prevalence among pregnant women is still unacceptably high especially in rural and sub-urban settings. This is worrisome considering the enormous contribution of anaemia to maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
Objective: This study aimed at determining the prevalence of anaemia at booking, identifying and describing its risk factors among pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinic of General Hospital, Etinan, a sub-urban area in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria.
Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study involving 375 pregnant women seen at the antenatal (booking) clinic of General Hospital, Etinan, between April and October 2018, recruited through non-probability consecutive sampling technique. A pretested semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data on socio-demographic, family and nutritional characteristics and obstetric and medical history of the respondents. Blood sample of each respondent was obtained from the median cubital vein, analysed with haemoglobinometer and their haemogloin (Hb) level determined and classified.
Results: The age of the respondents ranged from 15-49 years with mean and standard deviation of 26.62 + 6.29 years. Results obtained show that out of 375 pregnant women, 265 had Hb <11g/dl giving 70.67% of anaemia among them. While 18.49% had mild anaemia (Hb:10.0-10.9g/dl), 4.15% had severe anaemia(Hb:<7.0g/dl). Anaemia was statistically associated with rural residence (p=0.024), low educational status (p=0.02), low family income (p=0.003), being married (p=0.016), lower parity (p=0.000), late booking (p=0.001), non-use of family planning (p=0.000), non-use of insecticide-treated nets (p=0.000), febrile illness in index pregnancy (p=0.000) and poor nutrition (p=0.000).
Conclusion: The prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in the study is high. This has far-reaching negative implications on the health status of the women during pregnancy, delivery and puerperum and that of the fetus. The need for preconception counseling and screening, health and nutrition education, early booking, contraception, treatment and prevention of causes of febrile illness, priority to girl child education and overall poverty eradication measures and recommended.