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Multi-micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy for prevention of maternal anaemia and adverse birth outcomes in a high-altitude area: a prospective cohort study in rural Tibet of China

  • Yijun Kang (a1), Shaonong Dang (a1), Lingxia Zeng (a1), Duolao Wang (a2), Qiang Li (a1), Jianpeng Wang (a3), Luobu Ouzhu (a4) and Hong Yan (a1)...

Anaemia during pregnancy, characterised by Hb <110 g/l, is a specific risk factor for adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes in developing countries. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of daily antenatal supplementation with multiple micronutrients (MMN) compared with folic acid (FA) on the occurrence of anaemia among pregnant women and their infants’ health in a high-altitude area. A prospective cohort study was carried out in two rural counties in Tibet from 2007 to 2012. A total of 1149 eligible pregnant women were allocated daily supplementation with FA in one county and MMN containing a recommended allowance of twenty-three vitamins and minerals in another county starting ≤24 weeks of gestation and continuing until delivery. Compared with the FA group, prenatal supplementation with MMN was significantly associated with reduced odds of anaemia in the third trimester. This was demonstrated in the primary outcome, with an adjusted OR (AOR) of 0·63; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·88 and P=0·007 and also reduced odds of preterm delivery (AOR: 0·31; 95 % CI 0·15, 0·61; P=0·001). There was no difference between MMN and FA groups in mean birth weight (adjusted mean difference: 36·78; 95 % CI −19·42, 92·98 g; P=0·200), whereas MMN supplementation significantly reduced the odds of low-birth weight (LBW) babies (AOR: 0·58; 95 % CI 0·36, 0·91; P=0·019). In conclusion, the antenatal MMN supplementation in rural Tibet is associated with a reduction of maternal anaemia in the third trimester, and may potentially decrease the risk of preterm delivery and LBW babies.

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* Corresponding author: Dr H. Yan, email
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These authors contributed equally to this work.

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adjusted OR
  • folic acid
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    generalised estimating equation
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