Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Maternal and fetal nutrition in south India.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 10 June 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1517
  1. J R Sibert,
  2. M Jadhav,
  3. S G Inbaraj


    The relation between the nutrition of the mother and that of her baby was assessed in a south Indian community where malnutrition is common and women do not smoke. Unselected mothers and their infants of over 37 weeks' gestation were studied in two groups: those who paid for their care (150) and a poorer group who did not (172). There were significnat differences between the paying and non-paying groups in maternal triceps skinfold thickness, infant weight, and infant length. Overall there was a significant positive correlation between maternal triceps thickness and infant weight, length, and triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness. The correlation with the infant head circumference was less significant. These findings are further evidence that the nutrition of the mother has an important effect on the nutrition of her baby and that malnutrition is an important reason why Indian babies are lighter than European ones.