The burden of fetal under-nutrition is carried by developing countries
across the world. The immediate survival and lifelong health of infants are
adversely affected by fetal under-nutrition. Previous studies had highlighted
the need for improving
maternal diet through micronutrient rich foods. Nutritional status of mother is
known to be an important determinant of fetal growth, size at birth, and
postnatal growth. The diets of mothers in low- and middle-income countries
mostly lack the necessary proportion of energy, protein, and different
micronutrients. This puts the fetal health at stake.
optimal timing of food supplementation to malnourished pregnant women is
unclear. Not much information is available about the possible combined effects
of food and multiple micronutrient supplementations (MMS) on the growth of
their offspring. A recent study done in Bangladesh evaluated the effects of
prenatal food and micronutrient interventions on postnatal child growth.
diet in rural Bangladesh is usually monotonous and lacks sufficient energy
calories. Rice is the staple food. It is usually eaten with green-leafy
vegetables and sometimes a small amount of fish. Meat and animal products
appear to be rare ingredients of the diet.
antenatal care involves iron and folic acid supplementation to women during
pregnancy, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The new study
assessed the effect of multiple-micronutrient supplementation (MMS) containing
15 different vitamins and minerals with iron and folic acid supplementation.
Children born to mothers receiving an
early food supplementation during pregnancy showed better growth.
were less likely to be stunted during the first five years of life. This positive impact on preventing stunting
was observed only in boys.
observed that multiple-micronutrient supplements produced no significant added
benefit over iron and folic acid supplementation for post-natal growth.
Prenatal MMS increased the proportion of stunting in boys. The findings suggest
that food supplementation in pregnancy has programming effects in early fetal
Children born to mothers who received
multiple micronutrients rather than the standard iron-folate program had a
higher occurrence of stunting during the first five years.
finding implicates that it is better to adhere to the standard iron-folate
conclude, antenatal care requires far more attention laying more stress on
nutrition of expecting mothers. Early
initiation of food supplementation during pregnancy reduces the occurrence of
stunting during 0-54 months in boys, but not in girls
Multiple-micronutrient supplements were found to increase the proportion of
stunting in boys when given prenatally.
Effects of prenatal food and micronutrient
supplementation on child growth from birth to 54 months of age: a randomized
trial in Bangladesh; Nutrition Journal