Iron status of pregnant Indian women from an area of active iron supplementation

Kavitha C Menon, Elaine L Ferguson, Christine D Thomson, Andrew R Gray, Sanjay Zodpey, Abhay Saraf, Prabir Kumar Das, Chandrakant S Pandav, Sheila A Skeaff
Nutrition 2014, 30 (3): 291-6

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the iron status of pregnant tribal women from Ramtek, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India using a combination of indices.

METHODS: A community-based observational study was conducted to assess iron status using a convenience sample of pregnant Indian tribal women from Ramtek. Pregnant women were recruited at 13 to 22 wk gestation (first visit; n = 211) and followed to 29 to 42 wk gestation (second visit; n = 177) of pregnancy. Sociodemographic and anthropometric data; iron supplement intake; and blood samples for estimating hemoglobin (Hb), serum ferritin (SF), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), and C-reactive protein (CRP) were obtained.

RESULTS: The mean (SD) Hb concentration at recruitment was 106 (15) g/L and 106 (14) g/L at the second visit; 41% of the women at recruitment and 55% at second visit were anemic (14% higher, P < 0.001). No women at recruitment and 3.7% at second visit had SF concentration < 15 ng/mL; and 3.3% at recruitment and 3.9% at the second visit had sTfR > 4.4 ng/mL (0.6% higher, P = 0.179). Almost 62% and 71% of pregnant women used iron supplements at both visits, respectively. Iron supplement intake > 7 d in the preceding month improved the Hb concentration by 3.23 g/L and reduced sTfR concentration by 13%; women who were breastfeeding at the time of recruitment had 11% higher SF concentration.

CONCLUSIONS: The iron indices suggest that pregnant tribal women of central India, although anemic, had good iron status. Use of iron supplements > 7 d in the preceding month improved iron status; however, non-iron-deficiency anemia persisted in this group.

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