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[e-drug] BMJ - iron supplement in pregnancy

E-DRUG: BMJ - iron supplement in pregnancy

[Perhaps old news of a sort but finally some evidence on the health 
outcomes. This excerpt of a BMJ editorial refers to a paper in the same 
issue, but a recent Cochrane review update also came to the same 
conclusion. Copied as Fair Use. DB]

Iron supplementation in pregnancy
BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4399 (Published 10 
July 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4399

Alexander Krafft

At last, benefits on maternal measures and risk of low birth weight are 

In the linked review and meta-analysis of anaemia, prenatal iron use, 
and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (doi:10.1136/bmj.f3443), 
Haider and colleagues make a strong case for iron supplementation in 
pregnancy. Iron deficiency is the world's most common and widespread 
nutritional disorder. Not only does it affect many women and children in 
developing countries, it is the one nutritional deficiency that is also 
highly prevalent in industrialised countries. World Health Organization 
data indicate that a staggering two billion people - around 30% of the 
world's population - may have anaemia, mainly as a result of iron 
deficiency, often exacerbated in resource poor areas by infectious 
disease. Iron deficiency is thus an important health problem worldwide.

Pregnant women, and women of childbearing age in general, are in 
particular need of iron supplementation. Even under optimal dietary 
conditions, daily intestinal absorption cannot meet the pregnancy 
requirement of 1-1.2 g iron. But curiously the case for iron 
supplementation remained unconfirmed after Cochrane reviews and other 
meta-analyses concluded that iron supplementation prevented maternal 
anaemia and iron deficiency at term but was not beneficial (or harmful) 
in terms of neonatal outcome (such as low birth weight, delayed 
development, preterm birth, infection).

Haider and colleagues comprehensively reviewed the evidence from 
randomised trials and prospective cohort studies for an association 
between anaemia, iron use in pregnancy, and maternal and pregnancy 
outcomes. They concluded that daily prenatal oral iron significantly 
reduced maternal anaemia, iron deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia, and 
the risk of low birth weight, but that the reduction in the risk of 
preterm birth was not significant.

<snip - article continues>

Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4399
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