Daily micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy reduces complications at birth: Study

Results suggest iron plus folic acid and vitamins is better at reducing adverse birth outcomes

A six-year study of nearly 100,000 women in Botswana (Southern Africa) has provided new evidence that relatively inexpensive daily diet supplementation of iron, folic acid and vitamin supplementation in pregnancy can reduce complications at birth.

Researchers found that iron and folic acid supplementation (IFAS), as well as iron and folic acid plus essential vitamins and trace minerals (multiple micronutrient supplementation, or MMS), are associated with significantly lower rates of babies born at low birthweight and other complications at birth, compared to iron or folic acid alone. For example, the rate of low-birthweight birth was under 10.5 percent for women supplementing their diets with multiple micronutrients, the lowest rate of any comparison group.

The results represent a broad, real-world confirmation of earlier clinical trial results. The study, the largest ever of its kind, also included a substantial cohort of pregnant women with HIV, and found that IFAS and MMS appeared to have even larger benefits in this group.

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