Maternal Anemia and Long-Term Offspring Infectious Morbidity

Anika J. Toma, Gil Gutvirtz, Eyal Sheiner, Tamar Wainstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective  Anemia of pregnancy is a common condition associated with adverse obstetric outcomes. However, little is known about its long-term effect on the offspring. This study aimed to evaluate a possible association between anemia during pregnancy and the long-term incidence of infectious morbidity in the offspring. Study Design  A large population-based retrospective study was conducted at the Soroka University Medical Center, the sole tertiary medical center in the south of Israel. The study included deliveries between the years 1991 and 2014 and compared long-term infectious morbidity of offspring of women with and without anemia during pregnancy (defined as hemoglobin level below 11 g/dL). The long-term incremental incidence of hospitalizations of offspring up to 18 years of age due to infectious morbidity was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival curves, while Cox's regression model was used to control for confounders. Results  During the study period, 214,244 deliveries met the inclusion criteria, of which 110,775 (51.7%) newborns were born to mothers with anemia during pregnancy. The overall infectious-related hospitalization rate was significantly higher in children from the exposed group (odds ratio [OR] = 1.07, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-1.10, p < 0.01). Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed a significantly higher cumulative incidence of hospitalizations due to infectious diseases as compared with children in the unexposed group (log-rank test, p < 0.01). The Cox model demonstrated a significant and independent association between maternal anemia and the long-term risk for hospitalization due to infectious diseases of the offspring (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.06-1.12, p < 0.01). Conclusion  Offspring of anemic mothers are at a greater risk for infectious-related hospitalizations in their first 18 years of life. Key Points Anemia is highly common in pregnancy. Maternal anemia has multiple short-term implications. Our study shows anemia of pregnancy is independently associated with long-term offspring infectious morbidity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)E968-E973
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
StatePublished - 22 May 2024


  • anemia
  • hospitalization
  • infectious disease
  • long-term follow-up
  • pregnancy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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