Anemia vs iron deficiency: increased risk of preterm delivery in a prospective study

Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 May;55(5):985-8. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/55.5.985.


Using criteria from the Centers for Disease Control, anemia and iron-deficiency anemia (anemia with serum ferritin concentrations less than 12 micrograms/L) were assessed in greater than 800 inner-city gravidas at entry to prenatal care. Iron-deficiency anemia was associated with significantly lower energy and iron intakes early in pregnancy and a lower mean corpuscular volume. The odds of low birth weight were tripled and of preterm delivery more than doubled with iron deficiency, but were not increased with anemia from other causes. When vaginal bleeding at or before entry to care accompanied anemia, the odds of a preterm delivery were increased fivefold for iron-deficiency anemia and doubled for other anemias. Inadequate pregnancy weight gain was more prevalent among those with iron-deficiency anemia and in those with anemias of other etiologies. The prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia (3.5%), however, was lower than anticipated for an inner-city, minority population in whom most anemias had been attributed clinically to iron deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Anemia / ethnology
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / complications*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / ethnology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Energy Intake
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic* / ethnology
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / complications
  • Weight Gain


  • Iron