e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Daily iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy

It is estimated that 41.8% of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. At least half of this anaemia burden is assumed to be due to iron deficiency. Pregnant women require additional iron and folic acid to meet their own nutritional needs as well as those of the developing fetus. Deficiencies in iron and folic acid during pregnancy can potentially negatively impact the health of the mother, her pregnancy, as well as fetal development.

The most recent evidence has shown that the use of iron and folic acid supplements is associated with a reduced risk of iron deficiency and anaemia in the pregnant woman.

WHO recommends daily oral iron and folic acid supplementation as part of the antenatal care to reduce the risk of low birth weight, maternal anaemia and iron deficiency.

A suggested scheme for daily iron and folic acid supplementation in pregnant women can be found in the WHO guideline.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines


Systematic reviews used to develop guidelines
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Last update:

25 March 2014 13:35 CET

Category 1 intervention

Guidelines have been recently approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee