Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy.
Anemia is defined as a low red blood cell count, a low hematocrit, or a low hemoglobin concentration. In pregnancy, a hemoglobin concentration of less than 11.0 g/dL in the first trimester and less than 10.5 or 11.0 g/dL in the second or third trimester (depending on the guideline used) is considered anemia. Anemia is the most common hematologic abnormality in pregnancy. Maternal anemia is associated with adverse fetal, neonatal and childhood outcomes, but causality is not established. Maternal anemia increases the likelihood of transfusion at delivery. Besides hemodilution, iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends screening for anemia with a complete blood count in the first trimester and again at 24 0/7 to 28 6/7 weeks of gestation. Mild anemia, with a hemoglobin of 10.0 g/dL or higher and a mildly low or normal mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is likely iron deficiency anemia. A trial of oral iron can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. Mild anemia with a very low MCV, macrocytic anemia, moderate anemia (hemoglobin 7.0-9.9 g/dL) or severe anemia (hemoglobin 4.0-6.9 g/dL) requires further investigation. Once a diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia is confirmed, first-line treatment is oral iron. New evidence suggests that intermittent dosing is as effective as daily or twice-daily dosing with fewer side effects. For patients with iron deficiency anemia who cannot tolerate, cannot absorb, or do not respond to oral iron, intravenous iron is preferred. With contemporary formulations, allergic reactions are rare.
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