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Iron-Deficient Pregnant Women May be at Higher Risk of Depression

Research has suggested that iron deficiency is associated with depression in the general population. Now a recent study suggests that iron-deficient pregnant women may have higher levels of perinatal depression than women who have sufficient iron levels.


Participants in the study included 142 women who were between the ages of 18 and 25. All of them were patients at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic in Hamilton, Ontario, between 2009 and 2016. All of the women had blood drawn for analysis of serum ferritin, which is a biological marker of iron storage, and they all filled out the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) questionnaire on the same day they had blood drawn.


The researchers found that 31% of the women were iron deficient and that, on average, the iron deficient women had a significantly higher score on the EPDS questionnaire, when compared with women who had adequate levels of iron.


Researchers from the University of Toronto led the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 4, 2018, in Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.


Iron is essential for healthy blood and affects many other things including muscle function, brain function, and regulation of body temperature. If you’re looking to add more iron to your daily diet, try to eat more lean, low-fat red meats. If you’re a vegetarian or just prefer not to consume too much meat, legumes, lentils, soybeans, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are great dietary sources of iron.

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