Contemporary outcomes of sickle cell disease in pregnancy

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Data regarding pregnancy outcomes in sickle cell disease are conflicting. Previous studies are limited by small sample size, narrow geographic area, and a wide range of resource availability.


The purpose of this study was to examine the association between maternal sickle cell disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes in a contemporary North American cohort.

Study Design

We performed a retrospective cohort study of 2,027,323 women with singleton pregnancies delivered in California from 2005–2008. Deliveries at <24 or >42 6/7 weeks of gestation were excluded. Women with sickle cell disease were compared with control subjects. Maternal outcomes of interest included preeclampsia, preterm delivery, placental abruption, oligohydramnios, and cesarean delivery; neonatal outcomes included small for gestational age, anomalies, stillbirth, neonatal death, and infant death.


The prevalence of sickle cell disease was 0.017%. Compared with control subjects, women with sickle cell disease were more likely to have limited prenatal care (7.4 vs 3.8%; P=.001), underlying chronic hypertension (2.3% vs 1.1%; P=.038), and fetal anomalies (14.0 vs 6.4%; P<.001). The increased odds of fetal anomalies persisted after adjustment for multiple confounders (odds ratio, 1.73; 95% confidence interval, 1.26–2.38). Women with sickle cell disease also had higher odds of severe preeclampsia (odds ratio, 3.75; 95% confidence interval, 2.21–6.38), preterm delivery (odds ratio, 2.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.93–3.21), small for gestational age (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% confidence interval, 1.18–3.25), and cesarean delivery (odds ratio, 1.93; 95% confidence interval, 1.40–2.67).


Women with sickle cell disease are at high risk of maternal and neonatal morbidity. Low rates of fetal and neonatal death may reflect improved antenatal surveillance and management as compared with previous studies. The association between sickle cell disease and fetal anomalies warrants further investigation.

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