The iron status at birth of neonates with risk factors for developing iron deficiency: a pilot study

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Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) neonates, infants of diabetic mothers (IDM) and very-low-birth weight premature neonates (VLBW) are reported to have increased risk for developing iron deficiency and possibly associated neurocognitive delays.


We conducted a pilot study to assess iron status at birth in at-risk neonates by measuring iron parameters in umbilical cord blood from SGA, IDM, VLBW and comparison neonates.


Six of the 50 infants studied had biochemical evidence of iron deficiency at birth. Laboratory findings consistent with iron deficiency were found in one SGA, one IDM, three VLBW, and one comparison infant. None of the infants had evidence of iron deficiency anemia.


Evidence of biochemical iron deficiency at birth was found in 17% of screened neonates. Studies are needed to determine whether these infants are at risk for developing iron-limited erythropoiesis, iron deficiency anemia or iron-deficient neurocognitive delay.

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