Effects of iron supplementation on maternal hematologic status in pregnancy
Sloan,Nancy L.; Jordan,Elizabeth; Winikoff,Beverly
American Journal of Public Health 92(2): 288-293
Publication date: 2002
Prenatal iron supplementation has been the standardrecommendation for reducing maternal anemia in developing countriesfor the past 30 years. This article reviews the efficacy ofiron supplementation on hemoglobin levels in pregnant womenin developing countries.
Data from randomized controlled trials published between1966 and 1998 were pooled. Meta-analyses of the relative changein maternal hemoglobin associated with iron supplementationwere stratified by initial hemoglobin levels, duration of supplementation,and daily gestational supplement dose and supplementation withother nutrients.
Iron supplementation raises hemoglobin levels. Itseffects are dose dependent and are related to initial hematologicstatus. The extent to which iron supplementation can reducematernal anemia is unclear.
The extent to which maternal hemoglobin levelscan be increased by recommended prenatal supplementation islimited and has uncertain physiological benefits. Other approaches,including food fortification and prevention and treatment ofother causes of anemia, require methodologically rigorous evaluationto find effective answers to this global problem.