Dr Ketil Størdal and colleagues from Norway determined whether the use of iron supplements during pregnancy affects the risk for celiac disease in children.
The researchers assessed data from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child cohort study, in which individuals with celiac disease were identified by answers on questionnaires and linkage to the Norwegian Patient Register.
Complete data were available for 78,846 children.
The research team identified 314 children with celiac disease.
Questionnaires were given to pregnant women to collect information on use of iron-containing supplements, diet, anemia, and levels of hemoglobin.
|Anemia in the early stages of pregnancy was not associated with celiac disease in children|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
Celiac disease was diagnosed in almost 5 of 1000 children whose mothers took iron supplements while they were pregnant, compared with 3 of 1000 children whose mothers did not.
After adjusting for children’s age, sex, and age of gluten introduction, and the presence of celiac disease in mothers, iron supplementation during pregnancy remained significantly associated with celiac disease in children.
However, the team found that celiac disease was not associated with the mothers’ intake of iron from foods.
The researchers noted that anemia before or during the early stages of pregnancy was not significantly associated with the risk of celiac disease in children.
The team observed that the use of iron supplements during pregnancy remained significantly associated with celiac disease in children after adjusting for children who were given iron supplements before 18 months of age, which itself was associated with celiac disease.
Dr Størdal's team concluded, "In a prospective Norwegian Mother and Child cohort study, we found an increased risk of celiac disease in children whose mothers used iron supplements during pregnancy."
"This association does not appear to arise from maternal anemia."