Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy

Semin Hematol. 2015 Oct;52(4):339-47. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 10.


Anemia is a common problem in obstetrics and perinatal care. Any hemoglobin below 10.5 g/dL can be regarded as true anemia regardless of gestational age. Reasons for anemia in pregnancy are mainly nutritional deficiencies, parasitic and bacterial diseases, and inborn red blood cell disorders such as thalassemias. The main cause of anemia in obstetrics is iron deficiency, which has a worldwide prevalence between estimated 20%-80% and consists of a primarily female population. Stages of iron deficiency are depletion of iron stores, iron-deficient erythropoiesis without anemia, and iron deficiency anemia, the most pronounced form of iron deficiency. Pregnancy anemia can be aggravated by various conditions such as uterine or placental bleedings, gastrointestinal bleedings, and peripartum blood loss. In addition to the general consequences of anemia, there are specific risks during pregnancy for the mother and the fetus such as intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, feto-placental miss ratio, and higher risk for peripartum blood transfusion. Besides the importance of prophylaxis of iron deficiency, the main therapy options for the treatment of pregnancy anemia are oral iron and intravenous iron preparations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic* / diagnosis
  • Risk Factors


  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron