About the programme

This programme of research will help us to understand the effects for women and babies if we give low-dose iron supplements during pregnancy to prevent anaemia.

About the programme

Around a third of UK pregnant women develop anaemia caused by lack of iron.

Anaemia may mean that women experience general health problems such as excessive tiredness. Severe anaemia during pregnancy might increase the risk of a baby being stillborn, born early, or born small. It may also increase the risk of blood loss during childbirth and affect a baby’s development, but there is a lot of uncertainty. (1)

We know that treating anaemia after it develops does not reduce all the risks. We therefore want to find out whether we can prevent anaemia in the first place by giving iron tablets.

Women with experience of anaemia and maternity services are highly supportive of the need for this research.

How will it work?

Our proposed research consists of five workstreams that build on each other.

Expectant parents

If you are an expectant parent concerned about any of these risks, please talk to the health professionals involved in your care as they can help you understand this in the context of your own pregnancy.