Changes in Blood C-Reactive Protein in Pregnancy and Labour Among Apparently Healthy Pregnant Women in Benin City (Published)
C-reactive protein (CRP), a very sensitive marker, has recently been associated with inflammatory conditions and their management. Pregnancy is a pro-inflammatory state associated with changes in CRP values. Proper interpretation of CRP levels in inflammatory conditions requires good knowledge of these changes. However, most studies and reference values obtained on serum CRP in pregnancy were done in developed western countries. Regional differences in the level of CRP have been reported. It was imperative, therefore, to determine local reference values for CRP in apparently healthy pregnant women in our setting to serve as nomograms. Methods: Longitudinal case-control study with 160 women who met the criteria recruited. These were divided into two arms comprising of study and control, each consisting of 80 women. Maternal serum CRP was measured with competitive immunoassay in the first and second half of pregnancy and labour as women were followed up. Specimens were also obtained for CRP from the control group. Data obtained were analysed using the SPSS version 17 and GraphPad instant 3 software. Categorical variables were expressed as absolute numbers, and percentages and the differences in proportion were analysed using the Chi-square test or Fisher exact test, while continuous variables were presented as means with standard deviations and the differences were analysed with the t-test where appropriate. The level of significance was set as p<0.05. Result: Revealed a progressive increase in the C reactive protein concentration as pregnancy advanced. The rise however attained maximum level during labour. Statistical significance noted for that of labour against non-pregnant as control (p<0.05). Conclusion: C-reactive protein levels may serve as a marker for disease severity, though non-specific. The study shows that serum concentration of C-reactive protein in normal pregnancy for women in our environment should be 82.62 ± 32.19 ng/ml. Also, levels of concentration are increased during labour compared to non-pregnant and pregnant women with a mean value of 93.46 ± 24.00 ng/ml. Therefore, it could be of prognostic value in some pregnancy-associated complications such as preterm labour, premature rupture of membrane, chorioamnionitis, pre-eclampsia and diabetes mellitus.