Iron and Folate

Iron and folate supplementation is the standard of prenatal care in most developing countries; current World Health Organization guidelines recommend prenatal daily iron-folate supplements (400 mcg folate and 60 mg iron) for a duration of six months to prevent anemia, and iron supplementation two times daily for the treatment of severe anemia [4]. Iron supplementation is recommended based on its demonstrated benefit in preventing maternal anemia and its related complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, postpartum hemorrhage, and mortality [5-8]. Folate supplementation is also well-established as an effective strategy for preventing adverse birth outcomes, particularly neural tube defects (Relative risk [RR]: 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.13, 0.58) [9]. To date, there has been no evidence to suggest that folate supplementation should differ in the context of HIV/ AIDS. However, recently, there have been some concerns regarding the benefit of iron supplementation in HIV-infected pregnant women; Ramakrishnan and Imhoff-Kun-sch discuss these in greater detail in Chapter 22, ("Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Developing Countries") in this volume [10].

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