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Review of Studies Confirms Prenatal Iron Is Good for Mom and Baby

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- New research confirms what many doctors already emphasize to their patients about the importance of iron for a pregnancy.

 

Iron is a mineral commonly available in supplements over the counter. Deficiency of the mineral is the most common cause of anemia in expectant moms. It also can increase complications during pregnancy.

 

Too little iron in expectant mothers increases the chance of premature birth, reduces a baby's survival rate and can severely stunt a child's development.

A review online by Batool A. Haider of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues in the journal BMJ looked at 92 studies involving almost 2 million women. The review found that taking iron supplements during pregnancy was associated with a 50- to 60-percent reduction in the risk of iron deficiency and related anemia. Additionally, each 10-milligram increase in daily iron was associated with a significant increase in newborns' birth weight.

The authors concluded, "Daily prenatal use of iron substantially improved birth weight in a linear dose-response fashion, probably leading to a reduction in risk of low birth weight. An improvement in prenatal mean hemoglobin concentration linearly increased birth weight."

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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