Introduction: Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is still a problem of pregnant women's health related to its high prevalence and its negative effects on health. Prevention efforts have been carried out through administration of oral iron tablets to women during their pregnancy; however, the expected results have not been satisfied yet. This failure is probably due to the assumption that, especially in developing countries, the iron store in pre-pregnant women is very low or may be empty, so that iron supplementation during pregnancy is not enough to prevent IDA. The aim of study is to know the difference of effect of iron supplementation in treated and control groups in terms of hemoglobin concentration, serum ferritin level and prevalence of IDA.
Method: A quasi-experimental study was conducted on 99 non-pregnant new couple women. Iron tablets were administered to the treated group from the beginning of pre-pregnant period, continuing until the first 3 months of pregnancy, while in the control group iron tablets were only given during the first 3 months of pregnancy. IDA was measured by serum ferritin and hemoglobin concentration using WHO’s criteria, the benefit of iron tablet was measured by BCR technique.
Result: The administration of an oral iron tablet from the prepregnant period (treated group) could decrease prevalence of IDA higher than the administration of oral iron tablet during pregnancy only (control group) (0% vs 38.46%, p<0.05). A significant difference was also observed on mean serum ferritin concentration at the end of observation (the third month of pregnancy) 33.45±14.12 µg/dL in the treated group, and 19.65±8.99 µg/dL in the control group. This difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). Meanwhile, the hemoglobin concentration was 12.25±1.20 g/dL in the treated group and 10.91±0.67 g/dL in the control group. This difference was also statistically significant (p<0.05). Benefit analysis showed that administration of an oral iron tablet starting from pre-pregnancy is more advantageous (BCR >1) compared to oral administration of iron tablet during the pregnancy period only. There were no significant differences in side effects and compliance of the patient to consume iron pills in both treated and control groups.
Conclusion: The administration of oral iron tablets (iron supplementation) to pregnant women starting from pre-pregnant period results in a better effect compared to oral iron supplementation during pregnancy only. This program is feasible to be implemented in a community setting because its compliance is good.