Intestinal helminthiasis in pregnancy: Pattern and effect on packed cell volume amongst antenatal women in Delta state, South-South Nigeria.

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Date: Sept-Dec 2020
From: Port Harcourt Medical Journal(Vol. 14, Issue 3)
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Clinical report
Length: 3,537 words
Lexile Measure: 1520L

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Byline: Williams. Odunvbun

Background: Pregnant women are vulnerable to the negative effects of intestinal helminthiasis, due to increased nutritional demands during pregnancy and in severe cases may contribute to anaemia in pregnancy. Aim: The study was conducted to ascertain the pattern of intestinal nematodes among pregnant women in Delta State and the likely effect on their packed cell volume (PCV). Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study, involving 300 eligible, consenting antenatal women at the booking clinic of Eku Baptist Government Hospital in Delta State, between 1 January 2019 and 31 March 2019. Stool and blood samples were collected from every participant for analysis and evaluation, respectively, for helminthic pattern and PCV. A self-administered, structured questionnaire was used to capture relevant data. Data analysis was done by SPSS version 24. Results: Three-quarter of the women were below the age of 34 years. Over 80% (238/282) of the women were parous. Fifty-six per cent (158/282) of the women had secondary education. More than Fifty percent of respondents (154/282), were traders. Seventy-two (25.5%) women had a helminthic infestation. Ascaris lumbricoides accounted for the highest (62.5%) type of worm, followed by Necator americanus (23.6%). Pregnant women who had their toilet within their houses had a statistically significantly fewer helminthic infestation (P < 0.001). Hand washing was associated with a statistically significant reduction in helminthic infestation among the women (P < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in helminthic infestation across the trimesters (P = 0.224). Women with helminthic infestation had statistically significantly lower PCV (P < 0.001). Women with hookworm and mixed infestations had statistically significantly lower mean PCV (P < 0.001). Conclusion: A high prevalence of A. lumbricoides and hookwoom infestation among pregnant women was found in this study. Helminthiasis was associated with reduced PCV. The routine antihelminthics for pregnant women attending Eku Baptist Government Hospital, is recommended by these findings.


Pregnant women are vulnerable to the negative effects of intestinal helminthiasis, due to increased nutritional demands during pregnancy.[1] The poor rural dwellers are frequently and chronically infected with different species of parasitic worms.[2] Over 24% of the world's population are reported to be infested with geo-helminths. Infestations occur most frequently in Americas, China, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.[3]

Findings from epidemiological surveys showed that poor sanitation, unhealthy environmental conditions, such as indiscriminate defecation, contamination of water bodies and geophagy are important predisposing factors to helminthic infestation.[4]

A study conducted revealed that pregnant women have a higher prevalence of parasitic infestations compared to non-pregnant women.[2] Helminthiasis have been shown to directly contribute to severe anaemia in patients through blood loss and micronutrient deficiencies.[5]

The safety and benefit of antihelminthics in pregnancy is a matter of concern to researchers. A systematic review aimed at determining the effect of antihelminthics on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes showed that antihelminthics significantly reduced the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthic infestation.[6] Observational studies[7],[8],[9] suggest improved maternal iron status, with the use of antihelminthics.

Eku Baptist Government hospital is the largest secondary health facility serving the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A656645790