Anemia during pregnancy is common because a woman’s body is producing more blood in order to support the growth of the baby. If she is not getting enough iron or other nutrients, the body may not be able to generate the amount of red blood cells needed to produce the additional blood. Anemia can cause fatigue and weakness, but it can also increase the mother’s risk for complications like pre-term labor.
The study notes that risk for low birth weight and anemia decreased with each 10 milligram increase in daily iron intake. When study participants took iron supplements, it reduced their risk for anemia by 50%, and their risk of having a low birth weight baby was decreased by 19%. The study findings also suggested that iron supplements may potentially reduce the risk of having a pre-term birth, but further research may be needed to prove a decisive correlation.