oa South African Medical Journal - Iron metabolism in pregnancy : II : the behaviour of serum iron in pregnancy after the administratlion of iron compounds by mouth and intravenously

Volume 25, Issue 52
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Standard doses of I gm. of ferrous sulphate were given by mouth to 5 normal controls and to 8 pregnant women and the increase in serum iron over the next six hours was determined. It is found that in pregnancy the curve of serum iron rises faster and further and drops more steeply than in the non-pregnant controls. Intravenous administration of simple rapidly ionizable iron salts show a similar phenomenon. Curves from four pregnant cases and from five controls are presented. When complex saccharated iron compounds are given the elemental iron is slowly liberated so that serum iron determinations include measurements of iron not combined to serum proteins. Urinary excretion of iron was investigated in these cases and it is shown that, although the concentration of iron in the urine is increased, the total iron lost by this route is not significant. It is concluded that the pregnant woman has an enhanced power to absorb and transport iron and it is argued that this constitutes further evidence in support of the thesis that a state of latent iron deficiency exists In pregnancy.

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