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Task Force finds insufficient evidence to make recommendations on iron screening or supplementation in pregnant women and young children

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women and young children and iron supplementation in pregnant women. The Task Force recommendation statement for asymptomatic pregnant women is published in Annals of Internal Medicine. A recommendation for screening for iron deficiency anemia in young children will be published simultaneously in Pediatrics.

The aim of iron supplementation or screening for and treatment of iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women is to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Researchers for the Task Force reviewed published evidence to assess the association between change in iron status as a result of supplementation or treatment in pregnant women and adolescents and improvement in maternal and infant health outcomes. The researchers found insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women to prevent adverse maternal health and birth outcomes. They also found insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of routine iron supplementation.