Effects of iron deficiency anaemia in the fetus and infant


The iron reserves of full-term newborns mirror the mother’s prenatal iron storage, according to Brown et al. (2017, p119). Pregnant women with IDA transmit less iron to the fetus, which may increase the risk of anemia in early children. Hence, Pavord et al. found that maternal iron insufficiency increases the risk of ID in the fetus throughout the first three months of life via a variety of pathways (2011). It restricts the fetus’s oxygen intake, which causes intrauterine growth retardation and slows the development of its psychomotor and cognitive abilities. When there is not enough iron availability to meet demand, the fetal brain may be in risk, claims Talaulikar (2012). This is due to the detrimental effects of anemia on the cognitive, behavioral, and physical development of infants and children. Children with iron deficiency anemia score worse on cognitive, linguistic, gross motor, and attention tests, and they may also have delays in their overall development (Brown et al 2017, p119). The increase of placental iron transport proteins may only partially shield the baby from the consequences of ID (Brown et al 2017, p119; Talaulikar 2012; Pavord et al 2011).

Maternal ID may result in decreased oxygen delivery to the placenta and fetus as well as increased infection rates (Brown et al 2017, p119). Strong causal links exist between maternal ID and the increased risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, the likelihood for placental abruption, and greater peripartum blood loss (Ghada et al 2012; Pavord et al 2011). However it has been shown that maternal nutrition and prenatal care are the best indicators of fetal growth and birth weight (MOHCC 2012)

According to the WHO (2012), a pregnant woman’s adequate absorption of iron supplements helps to properly manage fetal growth. The absorption of iron from multi-mineral supplements is much less than that of supplements that just include iron (Brown et al 2017, p119). The amount of iron absorbed depends on the diet’s iron content, bioavailability, and physiological requirements (Brown et al 2017, p119; LPI 2016; Pavord et al 2011). Less iron from supplements is successfully absorbed when iron dose is raised. liver storage and intestinal iron absorption (Williams 2011, p15). Iron absorption rises in pregnant women with low iron stores (LPI 2016). Those who are iron-deficient or anemic absorb a larger percentage of the iron they consume compared to individuals who are not anemic and have appropriate iron stores (particularly non-haem iron).

When a pregnancy first begins, women with enough iron stores generally absorb 10% of the entire iron they ingest, whereas those with inadequate stores absorb 20%. Pregnant women without IDA absorb 40% more iron than typical pregnant women (Brown et al 2017, p119; WHO 2012). The rate at which iron is absorbed increases during the course of pregnancy and varies depending on the trimester. Iron absorption is probably quite low in the first trimester since the demands for iron are lower (WHO 2017b; NRHM 2014).

Absorption reaches its maximum during the 13th week of pregnancy, when the majority of iron is transmitted to the fetus. It begins to rise during the second trimester and continues to do so throughout the whole pregnancy. Absorption is still high during the first several months following delivery, allowing for some repair of the body’s iron stores. Iron absorption from a diet with a very high iron bioavailability has been estimated to be 0.4, 1.9, and 5 mg/day throughout the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively (WHO 2017b; NRHM 2014). Iron supplements should be taken without food since their absorption is almost quadrupled. According to Preedy et al. (2013), the kind of iron present in food influences how much is absorbed, how much is needed, as well as a variety of other factors. Heme and non-heme iron ingestion together improves non-heme iron absorption. Both plant and animal foods may be great providers of iron (Stewart 2016). Around 40% of the total iron in animal flesh is contained in the red blood cell-like forms of hemoglobin and myoglobin (pigment found in muscle cells). Since it absorbs differently than non-haem iron, other dietary factors have less of an influence on or an impact on its absorption (LPI 2016; Preedy et al 2013; Williams 2011, p15)


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