Prevalence of anemia and associations between neonatal iron status, hepcidin, and maternal iron status among neonates born to pregnant adolescents

Pediatr Res. 2016 Jan;79(1-1):42-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2015.183. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


Background: Little is known about anemia and iron status in US newborns because screening for anemia is typically not undertaken until 1 y of age. This study was undertaken to characterize and identify determinants of iron status in newborns born to pregnant adolescents.

Methods: Pregnant adolescents (≤ 18 y, n = 193) were followed from ≥ 12 wk gestation until delivery. Hemoglobin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, serum iron, hepcidin, erythropoietin (EPO), IL-6, and C-reactive protein were assessed in maternal and cord blood.

Results: At birth, 21% of the neonates were anemic (Hb < 13.0 g/dl) and 25% had low iron stores (ferritin < 76 µg/l). Cord serum ferritin concentrations were not significantly associated with gestational age (GA) at birth across the range of 37-42 wk. Neonates born to mothers with ferritin < 12 µg/l had significantly lower ferritin (P = 0.003) compared to their counterparts. Hepcidin and IL-6 were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in neonates born to mothers with longer durations of active labor.

Conclusion: Given the importance of the iron stores at birth on maintenance of iron homeostasis over early infancy, additional screening of iron status at birth is warranted among those born to this high risk obstetric population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / congenital*
  • Anemia / epidemiology
  • Birth Weight
  • Black or African American
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Erythropoietin / blood
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Gestational Age
  • Hepcidins / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Iron / blood*
  • Labor, Obstetric / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / blood*
  • Prevalence
  • Receptors, Transferrin / blood
  • White People


  • EPO protein, human
  • Hepcidins
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Erythropoietin
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ferritins
  • Iron