Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

Iron status in pregnant women in the Republic of Seychelles

Emeir M Duffya1 c1, Maxine P Bonhama1, Julie MW Wallacea1, Chin-Kuo Changa1, Paula J Robsona1, Gary J Myersa2, Philip W Davidsona2, Thomas W Clarksona3, Conrad F Shamlayea4 and JJ Straina1

a1 Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK

a2 Division of Child Neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA

a3 Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

a4 Ministry of Health, Victoria, Mahé, Republic of Seychelles


Objective To establish the Fe status of pregnant women and their neonates in the Republic of Seychelles.

Design A prospective study.

Setting Republic of Seychelles.

Subjects Pregnant women were recruited and blood samples taken at enrolment and post-delivery along with cord blood samples. Ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) were measured in maternal (n 220) and cord blood (n 123) samples.

Results Maternal Fe deficiency (ferritin < 15 ng/ml, sTfR > 28 nmol/l) was present in 6 % of subjects at enrolment and in 20 % at delivery. There was no significant decrease in maternal ferritin. A significant increase in sTfR was observed between enrolment and delivery (P < 0·001). Maternal BMI and use of Fe supplements at 28 weeks’ gestation were associated with improved maternal Fe status at delivery, whereas parity had a negative effect on sTfR and ferritin at delivery.

Conclusions Fe status of pregnant Seychellois women was, on average, within normal ranges. The incidence of Fe deficiency throughout pregnancy in this population was similar to that in a Westernised population. Increased awareness of the importance of adequate Fe intake during pregnancy, particularly in multiparous women, is warranted.

(Received August 20 2008)

(Accepted June 25 2009)

(Online publication August 26 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email