A recent study showed that women diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia in early pregnancy (less than 30 weeks gestation) were more likely to have children with neurodevelopmental disorders. This included autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and intellectual disability.
It is common for women to be diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia at the end of pregnancy. However, there was no association between anaemia at this stage and neurodevelopmental disorders.
During the first trimester women often struggle with nausea after taking iron supplements. This is why it is incredibly important to follow a preconception care plan and boost iron stores prior to conception. I like to aim for a ferritin (iron stores) level of 80ug/L prior to conception or at the very least, 50ug/L.
If a woman is iron deficient in early pregnancy, I usually recommend Spatone if she can tolerate it. Alternatively, she can take an iron supplement a couple of times a week. This has been shown in a study to be as effective as daily iron supplementation.
To read the full study click here.