Multiple micronutrient supplements improve birth outcome
Oral supplementation with multiple micronutrients, iron, and folic acid during pregnancy improve birth outcome among women in low-and middle-income countries where micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent. This should replace single nutrient iron and folic acid supplementation, a recent review has shown.
Researchers searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register to identify all prospective randomized controlled trials that evaluated multiple micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy and its effect on pregnancy outcome. A total of 17 trials that collectively involved 138,538 women contributed data to the review, 15 of which were carried out in low-and middle-income countries. These 15 trials compared multiple micronutrient supplementation with supplements that included iron and folic acid with iron supplementation alone or in addition to folic acid. The remaining two trials were conducted in the UK and compared multiple micronutrient supplementation with placebo.
The researchers found multiple micronutrient supplementation to be associated with a significant decrease in the number of low birth weight (risk ratio [RR], 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85–0.91) and small-for-gestational age (average RR, 0.90, 95% CI, 0.83–0.97) infants as well as reductions in the rate of stillbirth (RR, 0.91, 95% CI, 0.85–0.98).
They did not find any significant differences in the number of preterm births or miscarriages, the incidence of maternal anaemia during the third trimester, maternal and neonatal mortality, or the risk of caesarean delivery.