This Week In The Bmj

Supplementation with only folic acid and iron reduces risk of low birth weight

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7389.0 (Published 15 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:0

Taking multiple micronutrient supplements in pregnancy in rural Nepal, reduces the risk of low birth weight but not more than folic acid-iron supplementation alone. In a community based randomised trial with 4926 pregnant women, Christian and colleagues (p 571) found that supplementation with folic acid plus iron reduced the risk of having a low birthweight baby by 16%. Supplementation with a combination of 14 micronutrients achieved a similar effect. High prevalence of low birth weight (<2500 g) and maternal deficiencies of vitamins and minerals (collectively called micronutrients) coexist in many developing nations, but the effects of antenatal supplementation on outcomes of pregnancy were not known. Further evaluation is needed before the widespread use of prenatal multiple micronutrients in South Asia is implemented.


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(Credit: HELDUR NETOCNY/PANOS)

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