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Guide to Iron Supplementation in pregnancy

This publication can be used by GPs, Midwives, Health Visitors and Pharmacists

Iron deficiency is common in pregnancy, with risks to mum and baby

The demand for iron increases threefold during pregnancy to meet the demands of the growing fetus and placenta, as well as maternal adaptations to pregnancy.1 It is estimated that 30-40% of pregnant women in industrialised countries are iron deficient* and almost one in four women in the UK have iron deficiency anaemia.

Iron deficiency during pregnancy is associated with several complications  including increased risk of preterm birth, lower birth weight and perinatal mortality.* It is also linked to maternal postpartum  fatigue and depressive symptoms, and infant iron deficiency in the first three months of life. Treating iron deficiency therefore offers considerable benefits to both mother and baby.*

This guide outlines the role of iron in pregnancy and foetal development, how dietary iron insufficiency occurs, current NICE guidance on iron deficiency in pregnancy, and iron supplementation.

For health professionals only

*See guide for more details

Midwife Iron Supplement Guide


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