Iron is the key nutrient necessary for building blood, strength and vitality. About 1 in 5 women of childbearing age worldwide has IDA. In industrialized countries, women are generally treated and thrive. In developing countries, women often die during childbirth because of it. More women die from causes related to iron deficiency anemia than from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.
Maternal and neonatal health and micronutrient nutrition are inextricably connected. Pregnant women need twice as much iron as usual for increased blood volume and for fetus growth. Teenage mothers are at greatest risk for IDA and for complications, especially hemorrhaging during childbirth. IDA can lead to premature labor, intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, birth asphyxia, neonatal anemia and death.