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Iron in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Iron in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Chapter:
Iron in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Author(s):

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198722700.003.0020
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date: 25 August 2019

Iron requirements increase approximately 2.5-fold by the end of pregnancy, representing the largest relative increase in nutrient requirements for pregnant women. The total additional iron requirement in the third trimester is 9#amp;#x2013;12 mg/day above pre-pregnancy needs, and even with this additional intake, women need to enter pregnancy with iron stores of approximately 500 mg to be able to fully meet the demands of pregnancy. The prevalence of iron deficiency and anaemia is therefore very high among pregnant women and can result in cognitive and motor deficits in the infant that may be irreversible. Prevention of deficiency is therefore critical. Building sufficient iron stores prior to conception is preferable, as it is difficult to obtain adequate iron from diet alone to meet late pregnancy requirements. Iron supplementation of 30 mg/day should be considered, particularly if dietary intake of meat is low.

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