Background: Iron is an essential micronutrient which plays a significant role, particularly vital for early brain growth and function. Maternal iron condition influences the iron status of neonates since iron transferred from the mother is the only source for fetal iron. A depletion in iron as a result of rapid growth leads to iron deficiency which is common in neonates. Although there are inconsistencies with regard to the normal reference ranges for neonatal iron level, the current review summarized literature to provide compressive information about neonatal iron status and factors that influence its level.
Methods: This is a narrative review on the basis of relevant literatures mainly on neonatal iron from peer-reviewed journals. Electronic databases such as PubMed, PMC, Scopus, Science Direct, Google scholar, Google, and Yahoo were used to retrieve relevant literatures using key terms like “newborn iron, neonatal iron, iron overload, maternal factors, complication, iron level and neonates” separately and in combination.
Results: Several factors had been postulated as factors associated with neonatal iron status. The current review figured out that maternal obesity, gestational diabetes mellitus, preterm delivery, placental transferrin receptor, inappropriate iron supplementation, use of iron fortified formula, uses of recombinant erythropoietin therapy, smoking, maternal iron deficiency anemia, umbilical cord clamping, and transfusion are the major factors which can influence neonatal iron level. These factors may have either positive or negative effects on neonatal iron level. Both iron deficiency and iron overload at some stage in the fetal development or at early stage of neonatal development cause abnormal functions of multiple organ system of neonates and subsequently contributed to neonatal and childhood morbidity and mortality.
Conclusions: By one and other means insufficient, late and extra maternal iron supplementation, early and delayed umbilical cord clamping have negative effects on the iron level of neonates. Therefore, careful prenatal and antenatal follow-up need to be strengthened with due emphasis for maternal iron assessment.