Can Iron and Folic Acid-IFA and Ca & Vitamin D Supplementation in Pregnancy be Fitted into Habitual Pattern of Three Meals A Day?

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Iron folic acid supplementation, calcium and vitamin D supplementation, pregnancy, side effects following supplementation
Micronutrient defieciencies in pregnancy


In India prevalence of anaemia and vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy are widespread. National programmes recommend that two tablets of iron and folic acid (IFA) and two tablets of calcium and vitamin D (Ca & Vit D) to be given every day from second trimester till delivery. To minimize the side effects and increase compliance, it is advised that each tablet should be taken after a meal. Most households follow a three meal pattern. A study was taken up to find out how IFA and Ca & Vit D supplementations can be fitted into the habitual three meal pattern. A short term crossover supplementation study was carried out on 38 pregnant women to assess side effects following consumption after lunch of one or two tablets containing 500mg elemental calcium (as calcium carbonate) and 250 IU vitamin D or 60 mg of elemental iron as ferrous sulphate. Prevalence of side effects was higher in women who received iron supplements as compared to Ca & Vit D supplements. Taking two tablets of Ca & Vit D together after meal was associated with significantly higher prevalence of side effects as compared to taking one tablet after meal. Taking two tablets of iron together after meal was not associated with any significant increase in prevalence of side effects as compared to one tablet. Giving two tablets of iron together after one meal and giving one tablet of calcium and vitamin after two meals is feasible option for providing two tablets each of iron and Ca & Vit D to pregnant women who habitually follow a three meal pattern.


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How to Cite

Ramachandran, P., Pramanik, A., & Kalaivani, K. (2019). Can Iron and Folic Acid-IFA and Ca & Vitamin D Supplementation in Pregnancy be Fitted into Habitual Pattern of Three Meals A Day?. The Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 56(4), 341–350.



Original Articles
Received 2019-07-22
Accepted 2019-08-08
Published 2019-10-01



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