Anemia and pregnancy

Iron deficiency in women considering pregnancy should be corrected.

August 29, 2000

NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Praxis Press) In women with severe anemia, pregnancy is associated with high placental weight and intrauterine growth restriction in the fetus. Hindmarsh and colleagues studied maternal iron status early in pregnancy and other factors that may affect placental development in 1,650 women with low-risk pregnancies. Factors independently associated with increasing placental weight included increasing maternal height (P < 0.0001), weight (P = 0.001), and parity (P = 0.01), and decreasing maternal serum ferritin levels (P = 0.001); maternal smoking, hemoglobin concentrations, and socioeconomic status did not influence placental weight. Maternal serum ferritin concentrations were inversely related with the capillarity of mature intermediate villi (P = 0.009) and terminal villi (P = 0.005), suggesting exaggerated angiogenesis. Low maternal iron stores early in pregnancy, reflected in ferritin levels, are associated with altered placental size and morphology at term; iron deficiency should be corrected in all women considering pregnancy.

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