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Keywords:

  • Anemia;
  •  Blood transfusion;
  •  Intravenous iron;
  •  Iron deficiency;
  •  Iron therapy;
  •  Obstetrics

SUMMARY

Iron deficiency (ID), iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and the resulting reduction in blood reserves are one the most common problems in pregnancy. Both oral iron – the traditional treatment – and blood transfusion involve significant drawbacks. High doses of oral iron frequently cause side effects, and noncompliance is common. Therefore, intravenous iron, alone or in association with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), has been evaluated as an alternative in the management of ID in this setting. There is increasing evidence that iron sucrose is effective for treating IDA and safe for the mother and the fetus, using the recommended dosages and treatment regimens. In the postpartum period, both iron sucrose and ferric carboxymaltose have been shown to be efficacious, alone or in combination with rHuEPO. In pregnancy and in the postpartum period, the expected hemoglobin increase and treatment times are predictable according to the present data; therefore, in the presence of moderate-to-severe anemia, it can be questioned whether it is reasonable to wait for a response to oral iron. Indications for the use of iron sucrose and ferric carboxymaltose are preexisting moderate-to-severe anemia, no effect of oral iron, side effects of oral iron, refusal of blood transfusion, limited time until delivery, coexisting risk factors (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, renal disease), the preoperative and postoperative periods and postpartum anemia. Future fields of research include the impact of intravenous iron therapy on patient satisfaction and quality of life, costs, hospital length of stay, blood transfusion rate, mortality rate, and other outcomes such as breastfeeding behavior and neonatal outcomes (e.g. birth weight, prematurity and neonatal iron stores).