Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency state in the world, affecting more than 2 billion people globally. Although it is particularly prevalent in less-developed countries, it remains a significant problem in the developed world, even where other forms of malnutrition have already been almost eliminated. Effective management is needed to prevent adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes, including the need for red cell transfusion. The objective of this guideline is to provide healthcare professionals with clear and simple recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of iron deficiency in pregnancy and the postpartum period. This is the first such guideline in the UK and may be applicable to other developed countries. Public health measures, such as helminth control and iron fortification of foods, which can be important to developing countries, are not considered here. The guidance may not be appropriate to all patients and individual patient circumstances may dictate an alternative approach.