Management of postpartum iron deficiency anemia: review of literature


  • Mohamed Saber Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aswan University Hospital, Aswan, Egypt
  • Mohamed Khalaf Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt
  • Ahmed M. Abbas Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt
  • Sayed A. Abdullah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt



Iron deficiency, Intravenous iron, Oral iron, Postpartum anemia


Anemia is a condition in which either the number of circulating red blood cells or their hemoglobin concentration is decreased. As a result, there is decreased transport of oxygen from the lungs to peripheral tissues. The standard approach to treatment of postpartum iron deficiency anemia is oral iron supplementation, with blood transfusion reserved for more server or symptomatic cases. There are a number of hazards of allogenic blood transfusion including transfusion of the wrong blood, infection, anaphylaxis and lung injury, any of which will be devastating for a young mother. These hazards, together with the national shortage of blood products, mean that transfusion should be viewed as a last resort in otherwise young and healthy women. Currently, there are many iron preparations available containing different types of iron salts, including ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, ferrous ascorbate but common adverse drug reactions found with these preparations are mainly gastrointestinal intolerance like nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, while ferrous bis-glycinate (fully reacted chelated amino acid form of iron) rarely make complication. Two types of intravenous (IV) preparations available are IV iron sucrose and IV ferric carboxymaltose. IV iron sucrose is safe, effective and economical. Reported incidence of adverse reactions with IV iron sucrose is less as compared to older iron preparations (Iron dextran, iron sorbitol), but it requires multiple doses and prolonged infusion time. Intramuscular iron sucrose complex is particularly contraindicated because of poor absorption. It was also stated that when iron dextran is given intravenously up to 30% of patients suffer from adverse effects which include arthritis, fever, urticaria and anaphylaxis.


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