The importance of iron deficiency in pregnancy on fetal, neonatal, and infant neurodevelopmental outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The role of iron in neurodevelopment has long been recognized, and the adverse effects of early-life iron deficiency on brain development and subsequent function across the lifespan continue to be a subject of research. A greater appreciation of the contribution of maternal preconceptional iron status and fetal iron accretion to offspring, postnatal iron status, and brain health across the lifespan has occurred over the past decade. This paradigm shift in thinking links two previously relatively siloed literatures: neonatal iron deficiency and postnatal iron deficiency. The understanding that iron accretion during the fetal period strongly influences postnatal iron balance has led to an appreciation of the importance and value of ensuring proper fetal iron loading. This article reviews the dynamics of fetal iron metabolism, the role of iron in the developing fetal brain, the short- and long-term neurobehavioral consequences of fetal iron underloading, and the potential mechanisms that account for the long-term effects of fetal/neonatal iron deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue numberS2
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.


  • brain
  • fetus
  • iron
  • iron deficiency
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • mother
  • neurodevelopment
  • pregnancy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article


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