Publications & Reports

The interplay between maternal-infant anemia and iron deficiency.

Davidson EM, Simpson JA, Fowkes FJI


Iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy is a major public health problem known to cause maternal morbidity and adverse birth outcomes, and it may also have lasting consequences on infant development. However, the impact of the maternal hematological environment on fetal and infant hemoglobin and iron stores in the first year of life remains unclear. This review of the epidemiological evidence found that severe maternal iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy is associated with lower ferritin, and to a lesser degree hemoglobin levels, in infants at birth. Emerging data also suggests that severe anemia in pregnancy increases the risk of iron deficiency and anemia in infants 6–12 months of age, although longitudinal studies are limited. Effective anemia prevention in pregnancy, such as iron supplementation, could reduce the risk of infant anemia and iron deficiency during the first year of life; however, more evidence is needed to determine the functional impact of iron supplementation in pregnancy on infant hematological indices.

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  • Journal: Nutrition Reviews
  • Published: 01/01/2023
  • Volume: 81
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 480-491