To evaluate the maternal and fetal outcome in pregnant women with sickle cell disease and to highlight the complications encountered during pregnancy and delivery at a university hospital in the Eastern Saudi Arabia.
A retrospective study of 255 pregnancies in 145 patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) over an 8-year-period analyzed the perinatal complications and maternal and fetal outcomes compared with a control group of 500 Saudi females with the normal hemoglobin phenotype selected randomly that matched for age, parity and delivered during the study period.
The incidence of SCD was 1.3% of all deliveries with one maternal death (0.4%) and a perinatal mortality rate of 78.2/1,000 deliveries in the series. The major maternal complications in the 255 pregnancies were anemia 84.3%, sickle cell crisis 44.3% (26.6% painful and 17.7% hemolytic crises), infection 45.9%, fetal growth restriction 20.1%, preterm delivery 12.6%, and pregnancy-induced hypertension 10.6%. Blood transfusion was necessary in 34% pregnancies. Stillbirths accounted for 63% of the perinatal mortality.
Saudi women with SCD are at a greater risk of morbidity and mortality in pregnancy than previously reported, with a high perinatal mortality rate. Early booking, meticulous antenatal care and supervised hospital delivery will improve the maternal and fetal outcomes in these patients.