Micronutrients, birth weight, and survival

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Maternal micronutrient requirements during pregnancy increase to meet the physiologic changes in gestation and fetal demands for growth and development. Maternal micronutrient deficiencies are high and coexist in many settings, likely luencing birth and newborn outcomes. The only recommendation for pregnancy currently exists for iron and folic acid use. Evidence is convincing that maternal iron plementation will improve birth weight and perhaps gestational length. In one randomized trial, iron plementation during pregnancy reduced child mortality in the offspring compared with the control group. Few other single micronutrients given antenatally, including vitamin A, zinc, and folic acid, have been systematically shown to confer such a benefit. A meta-analysis of 12 trials of multiple micronutrient plementation compared with iron-folic acid reveals an overall 11% reduction in low birth weight but no effect on preterm birth and perinatal or neonatal survival. Currently, data are unconvincing for replacing plementation of antenatal iron-folic acid with multiple micronutrients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual review of nutrition
StatePublished - Aug 21 2010


  • fetal growth
  • gestation
  • infant
  • maternal
  • minerals
  • mortality
  • pregnancy
  • vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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