Sickle-Cell Trait May Protect Against Preterm Birth

Trait also associated with double the risk of multiple gestation

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Black women who carry the sickle cell trait have a lower risk of preterm delivery than other black women, but almost double the risk of multiple gestations, according to a study in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Allison S. Bryant, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues retrospectively investigated the association between sickle cell trait and preterm delivery in 5,028 black women, of whom 6.5 percent carried the sickle cell trait.

The sickle cell trait was associated with a lower risk of preterm delivery at less than 32 weeks (adjusted odds ratio 0.15) and a higher risk of multiple gestations (adjusted odds ratio 1.94). The protective effect of the sickle cell trait against preterm delivery was greater in multiple gestation pregnancies, the report indicates.

"The presence of the sickle cell trait was associated with lower odds of early preterm delivery despite adjustment for potential confounders," Bryant and colleagues conclude. "An increased odds of multiple gestations was also noted among these women, possibly suggesting a persistence of selection for the hemoglobin S trait in non-malarial settings."

Abstract
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