UK guidelines on the management of iron deficiency in pregnancy
British Journal of Haematology
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Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency state in the world, affecting more than 2 billion people globally. Although it is particularly prevalent in less‐developed countries, it remains a significant problem in the developed world, even where other forms of malnutrition have already been almost eliminated. Effective management is needed to prevent adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes, including the need for red cell transfusion. The objective of this guideline is to provide healthcare professionals with clear and simple recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of iron deficiency in pregnancy and the postpartum period. This is the first such guideline in the UK and may be applicable to other developed countries. Public health measures, such as helminth control and iron fortification of foods, which can be important to developing countries, are not considered here. The guidance may not be appropriate to all patients and individual patient circumstances may dictate an alternative approach. The guideline group was selected by the British Society for Haematology, Obstetric Haematology Group (BSH OHG) and British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH), to be representative of UK‐based medical experts. MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched systematically for publications from 1966 until 2010 using the terms iron, anaemia, transfusion and pregnancy. Opinions were also sought from experienced obstetricians and practice development midwives. The writing group produced the draft guideline, which was subsequently considered by the members of the BSH Obstetric Haematology Group and revised by consensus by members of the General Haematology Task Force of the BCSH. The guideline was then reviewed by a sounding board of approximately 50 UK haematologists, the BCSH and the BSH Committee and comments incorporated where appropriate. Criteria used to quote levels of recommendation and grades of evidence are as outlined in the Procedure for Guidelines Commissioned by the BCSH.