I have struggled with being anemic all my life, so I have never needed another reason to take iron supplements, but a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, which is the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, says that “early childhood wheezing and asthma are on the rise, [and] there is a link between anemic pregnant women and their children's wheezing and asthma."
Not only can iron supplements help your children stave off wheezing and asthma, but it can also help ensure that your child isn’t born with low birth weight, and it can prevent you from becoming anemic during your pregnancy. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, and no country is immune to it.
During the study, it was found that out of 597 families who had previously participated in the Asthma in Pregnancy Study, 12% of mothers had anemia while pregnant. Among their children, 22% had a recurrent wheeze during the first year of their life and 17% had active asthma by the age of six. The researchers say that basically, the point is that mothers need to take their iron supplements so that their children will be able to breathe better.
Though asthma is a very common condition, it’s the most common condition during pregnancy that could also have serious medical consequences. About 8% of women who are in their childbearing years have asthma. In the United States alone, 9% of the general pregnant population, and up to 27% of low-income minority pregnant women have anemia. Up to 95% of anemia in pregnancy is caused by iron deficiency, and though both of these conditions can be easily treated, they are both known for the potentially serious complications they can pose to otherwise healthy pregnant women.
The doctors involved in the study concluded that nutrition plays the biggest role in preventing anemia in pregnant women, and asthma and wheezing in infants. Mothers need to make sure they are taking iron supplements to ensure they do not become anemic so that they stay healthy and so that their children have a greater chance of not developing respiratory issues later in life.
If you have struggled with anemia and are now pregnant, make sure to make your doctor aware of the situation so that you can talk about the best options available for you during your pregnancy.
- Elizabeth W. Triche, Lisbet S. Lundsberg, Paige G. Wickner, Kathleen Belanger, Brian P. Leaderer, Michael B. Bracken. Association of maternal anemia with increased wheeze and asthma in children. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 2011; 106 (2): 131 DOI:10.1016/j.anai.2010.11.007
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) (2011, March 12). Pregnancy anemia linked to childhood wheezing and asthma. ScienceDaily.