Iron Levels Should Be Checked During Pregnancy Interview with:
Kris Poppe, MD, PhD
Co-Head Endocrine Unit
CHU St-Pierre UMC
Université libre de Bruxelles What is the background for this study? 

Response: Pregnant women are often referred by gynecologists to my endocrine practice, for altered thyroid function. At that occasion, I often noticed that the women also had low iron/ferritin levels (ferritin is the iron reserve). Searching in literature did not reveal many publications on the association between iron (deficiency) and thyroid function during pregnancy and so that was the background/aim to perform this study.  What are the main findings?

ResponseOur main findings are:

  1. That iron deficiency in a developed country still is as high as 35%
  2.  That in those women, serum TSH and especially the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) is higher. TAI is known to lead to thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy and to be associated with an increased first trimester miscarriage rate. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: That at least once during pregnancy, iron levels (ferritin) should be checked and that before pregnancy, attention should be taken to the diet, in order that enough iron riche sources are consumed. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We will now look at the pregnancy outcomes in women with and without iron deficiency and look whether iron deficiency, thyroid dysfunction or both are associated with an altered pregnancy outcome? Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Iron deficiency has (in analogy with iodine deficiency) not disappeared in some patients in some areas in the world. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Poppe et al. Prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction in women with iron deficiency during early pregnancy: is it altered? European Journal of Endocrinology, July 2016 DOI: 10.1530/EJE-16-0288

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on July 24, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD