Maternal micronutrient status as a risk factor for perinatal mortality in a Tanzanian randomized controlled trial

Janay Johnson


The objective of this study was to determine if maternal micronutrient status (specifically iron) during pregnancy is a risk factor for perinatal mortality among women in Tanzania. Secondary analysis of data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled vitamin A supplementation trial conducted between August 2010-March 2013 was used to assess iron intake among women who experienced a stillbirth or early neonatal death. The mean dietary iron intake (measured using a quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire) for this population was 12.64 mg/day (SD = 6.32). There were 206 cases of perinatal mortality. Three classifications of dietary iron intake were devised and risk ratios were calculated using the Log Binomial Regression Model: <18 mg/day (RR: 2.13), 18-27 mg/day (RR: 2.63), & >27 mg/day (the reference group to which the first two classification groups were compared). There was neither a significant relationship found among women who consumed iron levels <18 mg/day or between 18-27 mg/day of iron compared to women who consumed more than 27 mg/day of iron, but on average there was twice the risk for perinatal mortality. The current study is consistent with previous literature findings and supports the need for more efficacious nutrition strategies. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[7]: 38-48)

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