Parenteral iron prophylaxis: a convenient alternative for antenatal women who do not consume oral iron


  • Suvarna Rai Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Malla Reddy Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India



Antenatal anemia, Non-compliance to oral iron, Oral iron intolerance, Prophylactic parenteral iron therapy


Background: A large number of antenatal women have difficulty consuming oral iron due to its well-known side effects. A simple alternative for it needs to be found. Aim and objective was to study the efficacy of parenteral iron prophylaxis as an alternative for antenatal women who are not able to consume oral iron.

Methods: A prospective case control study was conducted at a tertiary care centre in Hyderabad city, India from March 2016- March 2017. 73 non-anemic antenatal women between 14-24 weeks who were not taking oral iron supplementation were identified. 39 of them were willing for parenteral iron supplementation were included in Cases group and 34 who were not taking iron supplementation in any form were controls. Cases were administered three doses of IV Iron sucrose 200mg in 100 ml normal saline between 24-28 weeks, 28 – 32 weeks and 35-37 weeks Hemoglobin was checked again at 32weeks, 36 weeks, just prior to and on 3rd day post-delivery. Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS software.

Results: 67% of antenatal women discontinued oral iron due to its gastric side effects. No bias took place during selection of cases and controls. 7.69% of the ‘cases group’ developed anemia despite parenteral prophylaxis. All of them were diagnosed as mild anemia. 70.59% of the ‘controls group’ developed anemia eventually of which 8 were mild, 13 were moderate, 3 were severe and none were very severe. Mostly women became anemic after delivery. About 59% of antenatal women in cases group had no adverse effects with Iron Sucrose Injections, 8 of them had itching or rash and 9 of them complained of brownish discoloration of urine.11 of them had pain at the infusion site and only 1 of them had fever on administering parenteral therapy. None of these were severe enough to cause discontinuation of parenteral iron administration. No statistically significant difference could be found in maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality between the two groups. The mean cost of parenteral iron prophylaxis was Rs. 1650.

Conclusions: Women who do not take oral Iron supplementation in pregnancy are more prone to develop anemia subsequently. The commonest cause of non-compliance to oral iron is gastric intolerance. 3 doses of Intravenous Iron Sucrose 200mg prevents anemia in antenatal women who do not take oral iron supplementation. Hence, it can now be considered a convenient option for them.


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