Iron stores in healthy pregnant women as determined by immunoradiometry of their serum ferritin levels

K. Nemet, K. Andrassy, V. Mann, E. Füzes, L. Kocsár, I. Simonovits

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Immunoradiometric determination of the serum ferritin level allows obtaining the true value of the volume of iron stores in pregnant women. To complete our earlier examinations, in 752 primigravidae aged 20 to 29 years, the serum ferritin level has been determined in the 3rd, 5th and 8th month of pregnancy. 153 subjects were given iron therapy, while 599 received no iron during pregnancy. The hemoglobin value begins to decrease in early pregnancy, reaches its minimum in month 5 and stays at this level until month 8. In the primigravidae, the mean hemoglobin level decreased to 12 g/dl by the 5th month of pregnancy and persisted at that level until delivery. Serum ferritin and iron values decreased continuously from the beginning until the end of pregnancy. The decrease in serum iron level was essentially less than that in the serum ferritin level. In spite of the 12.1 g/dl hemoglobin value considered normal and of the about normal mean serum iron value, the serum ferritin level was extremely low in 10% of the pregnant women, a proof of depleted iron stores. In about another 10%, hemoglobin values higher than 11 g/dl were found, with serum ferritin levels of 5 ng/ml or even lower. In this latter group, the serum iron level and the saturation index already pointed to iron deficiency in months 5 to 8 of pregnancy. Our assumption that iron dosage was insufficient in an appreciable number of subjects given iron therapy, was well founded. It is concluded that an overwhelming number of pregnant women are in need of iron therapy from the 3rd month of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

Cite this

Nemet, K., Andrassy, K., Mann, V., Füzes, E., Kocsár, L., & Simonovits, I. (1981). Iron stores in healthy pregnant women as determined by immunoradiometry of their serum ferritin levels. Haematologia, 14(3), 307-313.