Modifying effects of maternal Hb concentration on infant birth weight in women receiving prenatal iron-containing supplements: a randomised controlled trial.Br J Nutr 2016; 115(4):644-9BJ
Concerns have been raised about the benefits of Fe-containing supplements on infant birth weight among women with normal/high Hb levels at baseline. Thus far, no clinical trials have examined whether the effects of prenatal Fe-containing supplements on birth weight vary by maternal Hb levels. We compared the effects of Fe-folic acid (IFA) or multiple micronutrients (MMN) with folic acid (FA) supplements on birth weight among pregnant women with mild/no anaemia or high Hb levels. A double-blind randomised controlled trial was conducted in 2006-2009. In total, 18 775 pregnant women with mild/no anaemia (145 g/l) baseline Hb levels, IFA and MMN supplements increased birth weight by 91·44 (95% CI 3·37, 179·51) g and 107·63 (95% CI 21·98, 193·28) g (P<0·05), respectively, compared with the FA group. No differences were found between the IFA and the MMN group, regardless of maternal Hb concentration. In conclusion, the effects of Fe-containing supplements on birth weight depended on baseline Hb concentrations. The Fe-containing supplements improved birth weight in women with very high Hb levels before 20 weeks of gestation.