Taking iron daily during pregnancy is associated with a significant increase in birth weight and a reduction in risk of low birth weight, a new study has revealed.
The research found that the effects were seen for iron doses up to 66 mg per day.
Researchers in the UK and US analysed the results of over 90 studies- a mix of randomised trials and cohort studies- of prenatal iron use and prenatal anaemia, involving nearly two million women.
Iron use increased a mother's average haemoglobin levels compared with controls and significantly reduced the risk of anaemia.
There was no reduction in risk of preterm birth as a result of iron use.
However analysis of cohort studies showed a significantly higher risk of low birth weight and preterm birth with anaemia in the first or second trimester of pregnancy.
Further analysis indicated that for every 10 mg increase in iron dose per day -up to 66 mg per day, risk of maternal anaemia was 12 percent lower, birth weight increased by 15 g and risk of low birth weight decreased by 3percent.
The study was published on bmj.com.