J Nutr. 2018 Oct 1;148(10):1615-1624. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy161.

Daily Maternal Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplementation with 20 mg Iron, Compared with Iron and Folic Acid with 60 mg Iron, Resulted in Lower Iron Status in Late Pregnancy but Not at 6 Months Postpartum in Either the Mothers or Their Infants in Bangladesh.

Matias SL1, Mridha MK1,2, Young RT1, Hussain S3, Dewey KG1.

Author information

1 – Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA.
2 – James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
3 – Consultant, Dhaka, Bangladesh.


BACKGROUND: Maternal anemia and iron deficiency are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine the effects of lipid-based nutrient supplements for pregnant and lactating women (LNS-PL) on hemoglobin (Hb), anemia, and iron status (nonprimary outcomes) at 36 weeks of gestation (women) and 6 mo postpartum (women and infants).

METHODS: The Rang-Din Nutrition Study, a cluster-randomized effectiveness trial, enrolled 4011 Bangladeshi pregnant women at ≤20 weeks of gestation to receive either daily LNS-PL (20 mg Fe) during pregnancy and the first 6 mo postpartum, or iron and folic acid (IFA, 60 mg Fe + 400 µg folic acid) daily during pregnancy and every other day during the first 3 mo postpartum. Biochemical measurements from a subsample of women (n = 1128) and their infants (n = 1117) included Hb (g/L), serum ferritin (µg/L), and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR; mg/L). Anemia was defined as maternal Hb <110 g/L at 36 weeks of gestation, <120 g/L at 6 mo postpartum, or infant Hb <105 g/L; iron deficiency (ID) was defined as ferritin <12 µg/L or elevated sTfR (>8.3 mg/L for women and >11 mg/L for infants).

RESULTS: Compared with the IFA group, women in the LNS-PL group had lower ferritin (-6.2 µg/L; P < 0.001) and higher sTfR concentrations (+0.5 mg/L; P < 0.001), and higher risk of ID (OR = 1.93; P < 0.05) at 36 weeks of gestation but not at 6 mo postpartum, whereas no consistent differences were observed for Hb or anemia. Among infants at 6 mo, there were no group differences except for a lower risk of elevated sTfR (OR = 0.61; P < 0.05) in the LNS-PL group than in the IFA group.

CONCLUSIONS: Provision of LNS-PL including a lower dose of iron than what is recommended during pregnancy resulted in differences in maternal iron status in late pregnancy that disappeared by 6 mo postpartum, and caused no undesirable effects regarding anemia or iron status of infants. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01715038.