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Racial variations in booking haemoglobin of primigravidae in Malaysia: a prospective study

Albert Chao Chiet Tan1*, Eugene Weng Kong Leong1, Ai Chen Chua1 and Foong Ming Moy2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:173  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-173

Published: 1 May 2013



Variations in racial haemoglobin had been previously described in multiple studies locally and abroad. This study was conducted to quantify the differences in haemoglobin of booking primigravidae amongst the three major races in Malaysia at the antenatal clinic of University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur.


One year prospective study of booking full blood count sample of primigravidae taken in one centre was conducted. Multiple comparative analyses of the booking haemoglobin were performed using the One-way ANOVA comparative mean test in each trimester. 622 primigravidae without any known history of haematological disorders were recruited into the study. The mean haemoglobin for the Indian race was the lowest compared to the two other races in the second and the third trimesters, and it was found to be statistically significant lower (p- value 0.001) than the Malay race in the second trimester. It was also found that the Indian race had a significantly higher incidence of moderate to severe anaemia (p- value: 0.029). The prevalence of anaemia in our study population is also significantly higher in the Indian population (p- value: 0.01).


The findings from this study have established that there is racial preponderance to anaemia in pregnancy. The Indian race is at a higher risk of having anaemia in pregnancy particularly in the second trimester.

Haemoglobin; Primigravida; Pregnancy; Race; Anaemia