Pregnancy is a time in which the risk for developing iron deficiency anemia is highest, because iron requirements are substantially greater than average absorbable iron intakes. This aim of this study to evaluate the whether weekly antenatal oral iron and folate supplementation is an effective alternative to a daily regimen in non-anemic pregnant women to prevent anemia and iron deficiency during the third trimester.
Material & Methods: Women having periods of gestation (POG) between 14 to 16 weeks, who were recruited for the study. Informed written consent was obtained from all women, and ethical approval for the study was obtained from the SMS, Jaipur. The hematocrit, hemoglobin and serum ferritin level was assessed. All women were first given single dose of tab albendazole 400 mg. Then they were randomly allocated to the three treatment groups and given a haematinic capsule i.e. 200mg of ferrous sulfate (60mg elemental iron) with 1mg folic acid tablet either weekly (n=26), thrice weekly (n=35) or daily (n=31).
Results: The compliance was good in all three study groups and no serious side-effects were reported. There were no significant differences in income, educational level, age, parity, POG, initial Hb and SF concentrations, Hct, and duration of previous haematinic prophylaxis between the three study groups. There is a reduction in the number of women with IDA in all three supplementation groups, but the number of women with ID is significantly increased in the weekly supplementation group and significantly decreased in the daily supplementation group.
Conclusion: Prophylactic oral iron supplements when given intermittently were not effective in preventing iron deficiency anaemia in pregnancy. In non-anemic pregnant women, a weekly regimen is an effective alternative to a daily regimen for antenatal oral iron and folate supplementation for preventing anemia and iron deficiency during the third trimester.