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The coexistence of underweight (UW) and overweight (OW)/obese (OB) at the population level is known to affect iron deficiency (ID) anaemia (IDA), but how the weight status affects erythropoiesis during pregnancy is less clear at a population scale. This study investigated associations between the pre-pregnancy BMI (pBMI) and erythropoiesis-related nutritional deficiencies.
Anthropometry, blood biochemistry and 24-h dietary recall data were collected during prenatal care visits. The weight status was defined based on the pBMI. Mild nutrition deficiency-related erythropoiesis was defined if individuals had an ID, folate depletion or a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The Nationwide Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (Pregnant NAHSIT 2017–2019).
We included 1456 women aged 20 to 45 years with singleton pregnancies.
Among these pregnant women, 9·6 % were UW, and 29·2 % were either OW (15·8 %) or OB (13·4 %). A U-shaped association between the pBMI and IDA was observed, with decreased odds (OR; 95 % CI) for OW subjects (0·6; 95 % CI (0·4, 0·9)) but increased odds for UW (1·2; 95 % CI (0·8, 2·0)) and OB subjects (1·2; 95 % CI (0·8, 1·8)). The pBMI was positively correlated with the prevalence of a mild nutritional deficiency. Compared to normal weight, OB pregnant women had 3·4-fold (3·4; 95 % CI (1·4, 8·1)) higher odds for multiple mild nutritional deficiencies, while UW individuals had lowest odds (0·3; 95 % CI (0·1, 1·2)). A dietary analysis showed negative relationships of pBMI with energy, carbohydrates, protein, Fe and folate intakes, but positive relationship with fat intakes.
The pre-pregnancy weight status can possibly serve as a good nutritional screening tool for preventing IDA during pregnancy.