How is iron deficiency anemia prevented in pregnant women?

Updated: Sep 07, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Pregnant women have been given supplemental iron since World War II, often in the form of all-purpose capsules containing vitamins, calcium, and iron. If the patient is anemic (hemoglobin < 11 g/dL), administer the iron at a different time of day than calcium because calcium inhibits iron absorption.

The practice of routinely administering iron to pregnant females in affluent societies has been challenged. Nevertheless, providing prophylactic iron therapy during the last half of pregnancy continues to be advisable, except in settings where careful follow-up for anemia and methods for measurement of serum iron and ferritin are readily available.


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