Medical Q&As

Haemoglobin C - risk to pregnancy?

Can you please help me? I am looking for details of a condition called HbC in pregnancy?

HbC stands for haemoglobin C. Haemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying element within the red blood cells. There are several types of haemoglobin and those with haemoglobin C have red cells that look flat and faintly resemble a darts board. These cells are referred to as target cells. People with haemoglobin C live a completely normal and healthy life. However, if they have a partner with sickle cell disease or trait their children could be born with a blood disorder. If one parent has haemoglobin C and the other has sickle cell trait each child has a 25% chance of being born with the usual type of haemoglobin, a 25% chance of being born with haemoglobin sickle cell disease, a 25% chance of being born with sickle cell trait and a 25% chance of being born with haemoglobin C. Haemoglobin C is most commonly seen in people of African and Afro-Caribbean origin. It is also seen in people from the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Haemoglobin C does confer a benefit on those people that live in the tropics because this particular form of haemoglobin provides protection against malaria. In summary, haemoglobin C only assumes importance if a person with that trait becomes pregnant with a partner who has sickle cell trait or disease. Haemoglobin C does not pose a threat to the health of an individual with that trait.