Early Hum Dev 2011 Dec 30;87(12):791-7. Epub 2011 Jun 30.
IISPV, Departament de Ciències Mèdiques Bàsiques, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Spain.
Background: Early iron supplementation in women with sufficient reserves could provoke iron excess resulting in haemoconcentration and low infant birth weight (IBW).
Aim: To clarify the influence of early iron supplementation on maternal iron status and the IBW, taking into account pre-pregnancy iron deposits.
Study Design: Longitudinal, prospective study.
Subjects: Healthy women volunteers (n=82) intending to become pregnant.
Outcome Measures: Women were grouped as a function of their pre-pregnancy (low or present) iron stores (serum ferritin (SF)
Results: Overall, 36% of the women had low iron stores at pre-pregnancy. The mean early supplementation with iron was 140.7mg/d and the mean of late supplementation was 99.01mg/d. Early supplementation improves the biochemical status of the mother and does not provoke a significant increase in haemoconcentration relative to late supplementation independently of the pre-pregnancy iron levels. Supplemental iron had a positive effect on birth weight among women with pre-pregnancy low iron stores (β=4.37; SE=1.8; p=0.038) and did not affect birth weight among women with present iron stores (β=-0.008; SE=3.03; p=0.998).
Conclusion: Early iron supplementation with doses ~100mg/d improves the biochemical status of the mother independently of her pre-pregnancy iron status. Supplementation with iron improves newborn birth weight in those women who start pregnancy with iron deficiency, and makes no significant difference to those women who are not iron deficient.