The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed published evidence to update its recommendations on iron supplementation and screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women. The evidence review is being published in Annals of Internal Medicine simultaneously with an evidence review in Pediatrics on screening for iron deficiency anemia in young children.
Iron needs increase during pregnancy due to the demands of the growing fetus and placenta; increased erythrocyte mass; and, in the third trimester, expanded maternal blood volume. Iron deficiency in pregnancy is a concern because some studies suggest an association between iron status and negative outcomes for women and their infants, such as low birthweight, premature birth, and perinatal death. Researchers for the USPSTF reviewed evidence to assess the benefits and harms of routine iron supplementation in pregnant women on maternal and infant health outcomes. They also sought to determine the benefits and harms of screening asymptomatic pregnant women for iron deficiency anemia. The evidence suggests that routine iron supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in expectant mothers. The researchers found no trials on the effect of prenatal screening for iron deficiency anemia on clinical outcomes.
A draft recommendation statement on routine iron supplementation and screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy and a draft recommendation statement on screening for iron deficiency anemia in young children will be posted at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org on Monday, March 30 at 12:01 a.m.