Neonatology pp 1489-1514 | Cite as

Anemia in the Neonatal Period

  • Robert D. ChristensenEmail author
  • Robin K. Ohls
Reference work entry


Anemia is a pathological reduction in the hematocrit, blood hemoglobin concentration, and circulating erythrocyte count. Neonatal reference intervals for hematocrit and hemoglobin are characteristic of this age. Neonatal red cell survival is shorter than in children and adults and the lower end of the normal range for infants of this age is approximately 9 g/dl. This nadir is called physiologic anemia. Neonates have red cells with erythrocyte membranes and distinctive metabolic characteristics that differ slightly from those of adults and so does the antigen expression. Isoimmunization caused by maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility is the most common cause of newborn hemolytic jaundice. Alloimmunization can present with unique neonatal findings, with a low reticulocyte count along with a low hemoglobin and elevated bilirubin. Causes of hemorrhage resulting in fetal or neonatal anemia are divided into prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal varieties. The use of “early” and the use of “late” erythropoietin administration to prevent and treat the anemia of prematurity has decreased transfusion requirements in preterm infants and beneficial neurodevelopmental effects have been reported. This chapter reviews the various pathologies that give rise to anemia during the fetal and neonatal periods and provides practical approaches for dealing with these clinical issues.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Divisions of Neonatology and Hematology, Department of PediatricsUniversity of Utah School of Medicine, Intermountain HealthcareSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Division of NeonatologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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