Children born to the mother of iron deficiency anemia early in pregnancy may be at higher risk for neuroscientific diseases, a new study suggests. The risk of neuroscientific disease is increased.
In an analysis of data from more than half a million Swedish-born babies, researchers found that mother anemia was associated with an increased risk of autism, ADHD and intellectual disabilities prior to the 30th semana of gestation.
The research does not show that anemia causes such problems; only a correlation can be identified. Nevertheless, the findings of the co-author of the study Renee Gardner suggest that “it could be even more important than we have previously understood to increase low iron levels in women who consider being pregnant or are pregnant within the early weeks.” This does not mean that women should have panic, said Gardner, who is studying mental, drug use and social conditions at Karolinska Ins.
“It is significant that it is relatively rare that healthy women obtain this diagnosis before the 30th week of pregnancy, even though anemia is normal in pregnant women.” Anemia is more frequently reported after pregnancy when iron demands of the fetus increase. But when the disease is identified after 30 weeks, the likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders does not increase, she said.
Iron plays a part in nervous system development, Gardner said. “We know for example that it is necessary for neurons to establish a new link with other neurons to construct protective coating on the external nerve cells that will improve signal transmission,” Gardner said in an email.
“Babies born to mothers who had anemia diagnosed earlier appeared to be smaller and more likely to be preterm born,” said Source. “Mthers also had complicated pregnancies more likely.
So while it is possible that a long period of time during pregnancy due to a lack of iron or other nutrients has a direct impact on molecular brain development, we have also seen some proof that anemic complications, such as preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, may explain some of the increased risks that we have seen.
Neurodevelopmental disease rates were relatively low, both for women with anemia and for women with normal levels of iron. For example, in 4.9% of children born with anemia early during gestation, 3.8% of those diagnosed with anemia later, and 3.5% of children whose mothers were free from anemia during pregnancy were diagnosed with autism.
Similarly, 9.3 percent of children with mothers with anemia early in pregnancy have been diagnosed with ADHD, 7.2 percent of mothers with diagnosed anemia subsequently, and 7.1 percent of those with mothers without anemia.
3.1% for children with mothers who had anemia at the beginning of pregnancy were diagnosed with intellectual disabilities compared with 1.1% for those whose moms later developed anemia and 1.3% for children born with moms without anemia.
Children born to mothers who had anemia in early pregnancy were 1.44 times higher in the probability of having autism, 1.37 in ADHD, and 2.2 times higher in the like compared to children with mom who had anemia after birth.
While the study reveals an early-pregnancy anemia, “the correlation is not the same as the cause,” Source told an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg School of medicine at Northwestern University. “Based on this information, it is difficult to estimate whether anemia actually creates a correlation, or whether the higher rates of neurodevelopmental disorders contribute to something else that women (early-pregnant anemia) have in common.” Women should be informed that current guidelines suggest testing for anemia during the prenatal first visit. “The vast majority of women are screened early,” she added.
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