By Dan Morhaim, M.D.
(BALTIMORE – August 22, 2023) – Friends: My goal is to share important health information with you and to include the source material.
Want to help millions of pregnant women and their children? Here’s how.
All pregnant women should be tested for iron deficiency (ID) and then treated with oral iron (if tolerated) and then by vein with iron infusions if needed.
Unfortunately, this evidence-based approach is not yet universally accepted, but it ought to be. And like many public health issues, it’s worse for poor women and women of color.
The diagnostic tests are straightforward, and these and the treatment are covered by insurance, including Medicaid. I’m sharing medical journal articles that women can take to their doctors and/or midwives or anyone else who needs to know because, while many clinicians get it too many others don’t know or are skeptical. I’m also sharing a general media article on the same topic.
Excerpt: Furthermore, it has become abundantly clear that when ID is present during pregnancy, there is an increased risk for several adverse obstetric outcomes and that the developing fetus is at risk for, among other disorders, neuro-developmental impairment that may manifest in adulthood. Not only does ID have a potentially significant adverse impact on obstetric outcomes such as preterm labor and peripartum hemorrhage, it is also associated with fetal growth
Dr. Michael Auerbach’s summary making the case for IV iron: Int J Gynecol Obstet. 2023;162(Suppl. 2):68-77.
Excerpt: Adverse effects with oral iron abound. These include constipation or sometimes diarrhea, metallic taste, gastric irritation, and thick green tenacious stool. All formulations containing low-molecular-weight iron dextran can be administered as a 1g dose in 15–60 min and have been shown to be safe and effective during the second and third trimesters. No serious adverse events have been reported in studies encompassing thousands of patients, and no morbid infant events have been observed. A more rapid and quantitative hemoglobin response is universally observed with intravenous iron without clinically significant adverse events.
Here’s an article written for general media: “A Hidden Public Health Crisis.”
BOTTOM LINE: PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD GET TESTED AND TREATED FOR IRON DEFICIENCY. IT’S UP TO US – YOU AND ME – TO SPREAD THE WORD. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP MOTHERS AND GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN. LET’S DO IT!
Dan Morhaim, M.D.
Author: “Preparing for A Better End” (Johns Hopkins Press)