Recent studies indicated very low iron deficiency in Bangladeshi non-pregnant non-lactating women. This was attributed to high iron concentration in tube-well water. However, there is limited data on iron deficiency in pregnant women. This study was designed to compare prevalence of anaemia, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in pregnant women living in areas of high and low iron in ground water.
Rural pregnant women (n=522) living in areas of low and high iron in ground water participated in this cross-sectional study. Socio-economic, pregnancy related information and blood samples were collected from the participants. Haemoglobin, serum ferritin, CRP and AGP were measured.
Nearly 35% of the participants had anaemia, 27% had iron deficiency and 13.4% had IDA. Only six (1.2%) had iron overload. Prevalence of anaemia and iron deficiency in participants in low ground water iron areas were significantly higher compared to that in the participants in high ground water iron areas. Of the anaemic pregnant women, 38.7% had iron deficiency anaemia with a higher proportion of IDA among pregnant women living in areas of low iron in ground water.
This study highlights differential prevalence of anaemia and iron deficiency in Bangladeshi pregnant women living in areas of high and low ground water iron. Yet, as prevalence of anaemia remains high in pregnant women and less than 40% could be accounted for by IDA, further research to identify other nutritional and non-nutritional contributors to anaemia in Bangladesh are needed to prevent and treat anaemia.