e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Iron or iron/folic acid supplementation to prevent anaemia in postpartum women

Anaemia is an important public health problem worldwide, particularly among women of reproductive age. A substantial portion of this anaemia burden is assumed to be due to iron deficiency. The consequences of anaemia resulting from iron deficiency during the postpartum period (six weeks after child birth) can be serious and have long-term health implications for the mother and her child.

WHO recommends intermittent iron and folic acid supplementation as a public health intervention for menstruating women living in settings where anaemia is highly prevalent. In the postpartum period, iron supplementation, either alone or in combination with folic acid, may also reduce the risk of anaemia by improving the iron status of the mother.

WHO recommendations

Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available


Related Cochrane reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

15 September 2014 18:16 CEST

Category 3 intervention

Available evidence is limited and systematic reviews have not yet been conducted