Gut microbial signatures can predict incidence of gestational anemia in pregnant women, according to research in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

Gestational anemia often occurs during the second and third trimesters and increases the risk of adverse effects for the mother and baby. Gut microbial dysfunction has been implicated in a number of conditions and could offer predictive value for gestational anemia.

The authors performed a prospective study to evaluate the role of gut microbiota in identifying anemia in pregnant women. They built a prediction model to help identify pregnant women at high risk of anemia.

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The study used data from the Mother and Child Microbiome Cohort Study in China. They used a diagnostic hemoglobin level of <100 gL-1 to account for increased plasma volume during pregnancy.

The study included 156 women diagnosed with gestational anemia in the third trimester and 402 control participants without gestational anemia. All women included in the study were nonanemic in the second trimester.

Women with gestational anemia had significantly different abundant bacteria than healthy women in the second trimester. Megamonas, veillonella, and haemophilus were more abundant in women with gestational anemia. In the third trimester, after adjusted analysis, women with gestational anemia had increased abundance of Veillonella and decreased abundance in Lachnospiraceae and Blautia.

Gestational anemia microbial dysbiosis was associated with clusters of bacterial genera in a structured coabundance group. The study authors found that clinical indices, while used for diagnosis, had limited predictive value for anemia in normal pregnant women.

The study authors contended that the results show a strong association of microbial changes with gestational anemia, but causality could not be determined. However, microbial signatures did accurately predict incidence of anemia in normal pregnant women. This research could help identify high-risk individuals and provide therapeutic targets to modulate gut microbiota.


Wei H, Deng S, Qin Y, et al. Insight into the potential value of gut microbial signatures for prediction of gestational anemia. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021;11:734561. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2021.734561