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A normal pregnancy consumes 500–800 mg of iron from the mother. Premenopausal women have a high incidence of marginal iron stores or iron deficiency (ID), with or without anemia, particularly in the less developed world. Although pregnancy is associated with a “physiologic” anemia largely related to maternal volume expansion; it is paradoxically associated with an increase in erythrocyte production and erythrocyte mass/kg. ID is a limiting factor for this erythrocyte mass expansion and can contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes. This review summarizes erythrocyte and iron balance observed in pregnancy; its implications and impact on mother and child; and provides an overview of approaches to the recognition of ID in pregnancy and its management, including clinically relevant questions for further investigation.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.