According to the CDC, all pregnant women should be taking iron supplements (30 mg/day) throughout their pregnancies to prevent iron deficiency anemia, which is the most common cause of anemia during pregnancy. However, research has not been done looking at the potential benefits of prenatal iron supplementation on birth outcomes, until now.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a meta-analysis of studies from 1966 to 2012, comprising almost 2 million subjects, which looked at effects of daily iron supplementation on maternal hematologic status, morbidity and birth outcomes. Women who took iron supplements had a 50 percent lower risk of anemia, as well as a 19 percent lower risk for low birth weight babies. Further strengthening the possible link, a dose-response effect was found between daily iron supplementation and increasing birth weight. Furthermore, women on iron supplements had a lower risk for preterm birth, although these numbers were not significant.
Our findings suggest that use of iron in women during pregnancy may be used as a preventive strategy to improve maternal haematological status and birth weight, say the researchers involved with this study.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava agrees. Women who are pregnant should be taking iron supplements as their doctor recommends. If you don t take them, you run a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia. Not only will you end up feeling tired, weak and overall not well, but now this new research shows that your baby may benefit as well.Therefore, it is important to keep iron levels at appropriate levels.