Iron Supplementation May Be Harmful During Pregnancy

It is linked to higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome in mid-pregnancy

TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Iron supplementation during mid-pregnancy is associated with a higher likelihood of gestational diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Simona Bo, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Turin in Italy examined the association between iron supplementation and metabolic or hypertensive abnormalities during mid-pregnancy (24 to 28 weeks) in 1,000 women. Of these, 500 had gestational diabetes mellitus and 212 used iron supplements.

The researchers found that iron supplement users had a higher prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (70.8 versus 44.4 percent), hypertension (25.9 versus 9.8 percent), and metabolic syndrome (25.9 versus 10.4 percent). After adjusting for multiple confounders, the risk was two- to three-fold higher for each condition. Women in both groups who took iron supplements had significantly higher values on the glucose tolerance test.

"Iron supplementation is associated with glucose impairment and hypertension in mid-pregnancy; its potential harmful effects might be carefully debated regarding its effectiveness," Bo and colleagues conclude.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on August 18, 2009

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