Daily maternal supplementation with multiple micronutrients was compared to iron-folic acid supplementation before and after childbirth, by scientists in Bangladesh. They found that multiple micronutrients (MM) supplementation did not affect all-cause infant mortality to age 6 months, but did result in significant reductions in preterm birth and low birth weight. The study is published in 'JAMA'.
Researchers studied 22,405 pregnancies in the multiple micronutrient group and 22,162 pregnancies in the iron-folic acid group. They found that there were 14,374 and 14,142 live-born infants respectively. At 6 months, it was found that here was no significant reduction in infant mortality in multiple micronutrients group, with 764 deaths in the iron-folic acid group and 741 deaths in the multiple micronutrients group. Supplementation with multiple micronutrients resulted in a non-statistically significant reduction in stillbirths and significant reductions in preterm births and low birth weight.
The authors write, "Our study's null finding is in agreement with a small number of trials that have provided an antenatal multiple micronutrients vs. iron supplement, with or without folic acid, and found no effect on neonatal mortality. Reasons for a null effect on postnatal survival after improvement in some birth outcomes with antenatal multiple micronutrients supplement use remains unknown but may reflect a complex interplay between maternal and newborn sizes and differential responses to supplementation by causes of death."