Pregnant women, please do not forget your supplements

Fetal and infant health can be adversely affected by maternal micronutrient deficiencies. In South Asia, infant mortality rates are still high due to preterm births and maternal malnutrition resulting in low birth weight. A particular study was performed in Bangladesh involving 44, 000 pregnancies which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team led by Dr. Keith P. West Jr., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a study in which pregnant women in Bangladesh were randomly assigned to receive supplements containing 15 micronutrients or iron-folic acid alone, taken daily from early pregnancy to 12 weeks postpartum. Among the 22,405 pregnancies in the multiple micronutrient group and the 22,162 pregnancies in the iron-folic acid group, there were 14,374 and 14,142 live-born infants, respectively. At six months, multiple micronutrients did not significantly reduce infant mortality; there were 764 deaths in the iron-folic acid group and 741 deaths in the multiple micronutrient groups.

In conclusion, multiple micronutrient supplementations resulted in a non-statistically significant reduction in stillbirths and significant reductions in preterm births and low birth weight.

The original publication can be accessed here.

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