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Multivitamins Can Reduce Risk Of Low Birth Weight

r prenatal clinic visits. If the baby was born at the hospital, information about the delivery, birth weight and health of the child was collected there; otherwise, the mothers were contacted personally and asked for this information. Newborns at the hospital were followed up for seven days to detect any evidence of congenital abnormalities or other conditions or illnesses.

Women in the micronutrient group gained an average of 9.2 kilograms (20.3 pounds) during their pregnancies, compared with 8.7 kilograms (19.2 pounds) in the placebo group. Of the 200 babies born, 146 were included in the analysis of birth size and 170 (88 in the micronutrient group and 82 in the placebo group) in the analysis of death or illness within seven days. After the researchers adjusted for other factors that affect birth weight, babies whose mothers took micronutrients weighed an average of 98 grams more and were .8 centimeters longer. Rate of low birth weight was 43.1 percent in the placebo group vs. 15.2 percent among those on micronutrient supplements. Four infants died in each group.

"Our findings are of a preliminary nature and need to be further corroborated," the authors write. "We advocate community-based trials in deprived populations to ascertain the impact of a supplementation schedule lasting throughout pregnancy. The sample size should be large enough to evaluate the effect of such supplementation on neonatal morbidity and mortality, in addition to the size at birth."



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