Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 May;113(5):659-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.10.021. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Iron status and its determinants in a nationally representative sample of pregnant women.

Author information

Scientific Institute of Public Health, Department of Public Health and Surveillance, Brussels, Belgium.

Erratum in

  • J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Sep;113(9):1253. Ines, Egli [corrected to Egli, Ines].


Iron-deficiency anemia is associated with adverse neonatal health outcomes. Iron status and its determinants were assessed in a representative sample of Belgian pregnant women. Blood samples were collected and a questionnaire was completed face-to-face. Hemoglobin (Hb) and mean cell volume were measured using a Beckman Coulter Hematology Analyzer and serum ferritin (SF) and transferrin receptor (sTfr) concentrations by immunoassay. In total, 55 obstetric clinics and 1,311 pregnant women were included. Approximately 40% of third-trimester and 6% of first-trimester women had SF levels less than 15 μg/L. Approximately 21% of third-trimester and 4% of first-trimester women had anemia (Hb <110 g/L). Of the third-trimester women, 23% were iron-deficient nonanemic (SF <15 μg/L and Hb ≥110 g/L), 16% had iron-deficiency anemia (SF <15 μg/L and Hb <110 g/L), and approximately 7% had tissue iron deficiency (sTfr >8.5 mg/L). The median body iron stores were 8.1 mg/kg among first-trimester women, but only 3.6 mg/kg among third-trimester women. SF levels were significantly positively associated with age and education level, and were higher among nulliparous women and lower among North-African women. sTfr concentrations were significantly negatively associated with age and were lower among smokers, nulliparous women, and women who planned their pregnancy. Despite the fact that two thirds of Belgian pregnant women took iron-containing supplements, iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia were frequent in third-trimester women. The World Health Organization regards this as a moderate public health problem. National iron supplementation guidelines are needed in Belgium to optimize iron status during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center