Anemia and iron deficiency are common in malaria-endemic regions, but there are concerns regarding the value of iron supplementation among pregnant women in malaria-endemic areas due to reports that iron supplementation may increase the risk of malaria. There is a lack of evidence on the impact of iron deficiency on pregnancy outcomes in malaria-endemic regions
In a cohort of pregnant women in Papua New Guinea, it was found that iron deficiency was highly prevalent and associated with substantially reduced odds of low birth weight. This affect appeared to be only partly through malaria-protective mechanisms, and other protective mechanisms may be involved. The findings suggest that suggest that iron supplementation needs to be integrated with other strategies to prevent or treat infections and undernutrition in pregnancy to achieve substantial improvements in birth outcomes.
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