Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Multiple micronutrient supplements versus iron-folic acid supplements and maternal anemia outcomes: an iron dose analysis.


Antenatal multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) are more effective than iron and folic acid (IFA) supplements in reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes. Questions remain, however, about the ability of MMS to prevent anemia as effectively as IFA, especially at a lower dose of daily iron and in areas of high anemia prevalence. Analyzing data from 11 trials from a recent Cochrane review, we compared MMS to IFA, delivering either 30 or 60 mg of iron, in sustaining hemoglobin and preventing third trimester anemia and iron deficiency anemia (IDA), accounting for daily iron dose, total supplemental iron intake, and baseline prevalence of anemia. There were no differences between MMS and IFA in third trimester hemoglobin concentration or risks of anemia or IDA by iron dose or total supplemental iron consumed. MMS providing 30 mg of iron was comparable to IFA with 60 mg of iron: mean hemoglobin difference of -0.26 g/L (95% CI: -1.41 to 0.89), risk ratios of 0.99 (95% CI: 0.92-1.07) for anemia, and 1.31 (95% CI: 0.66-2.60) for IDA. Baseline prevalence of anemia did not explain heterogeneity in findings. Compared to IFA, MMS results in comparable hemoglobin concentration and protection against anemia during pregnancy, independently of iron dose.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View