, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 421-428
Date: 29 Nov 2005

Iron Status Indicators in Women with Prior Neural Tube Defect-Affected Pregnancies

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Objectives: Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in pregnant women and has been linked to negative impacts on the fetus. We describe the association of various iron-deficiency indices with risk of neural tube defect (NTD) among a high-risk Mexican-American population. Methods: The study included 158 case-women (NTD-affected pregnancies) and 189 control-women (normal births) who were residents of the 14 Texas–Mexico border counties and delivered or terminated pregnancies during 1995–2000. In-person interviews and laboratory assays provided data. Results: Case-women had higher odds of having minimal or no iron stores (serum ferritin <30 μg/L) compared to control-women (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.0–3.3). The risk effect was not explained by low folate or B12 or other risk factors. Conclusion: Low serum ferritin may reflect the additive effect of multiple long-term factors, many of them related to poverty such as poor quality diet, lack of supplementation, and frequent pregnancies. Interpartum care is indicated in this population.