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Seasonal trends and maternal characteristics as predictors of maternal undernutrition and low birthweight in Eastern Maharashtra, India


Few studies have assessed whether women and infants in rural and peri‐urban communities in South Asia experience seasonal fluctuations in nutritional status; however, a handful of studies have documented seasonal variability in risk factors for undernutrition including food availability, physical activity and infections. We used data from the Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) registry, a population‐based pregnancy and birth registry in Eastern Maharashtra, India, to analyze seasonal trends in birthweight and maternal nutritional status—body mass index (BMI) and hemoglobin—in the first trimester of pregnancy. We plotted monthly and seasonal trends in birthweight, and maternal BMI and hemoglobin, and used multivariable regression models to identify seasonal and maternal characteristics that predicted each outcome. Between October 2014 and January 2018, MNH included 29,253 livebirths with recorded birthweight. BMI was assessed in 15,252 women less than 12 weeks of gestation and hemoglobin in 18,278 women less than 13 weeks of gestation. Maternal characteristics (age, education, parity and height) were significantly associated with nutritional status; however, there were minimal seasonal fluctuations in birthweight or maternal nutrition. There were significant secular trends in maternal hemoglobin; between 2014 and 2018, the prevalence of maternal anemia decreased from 91% to 79% and moderate or severe anemia from 53% to 37%. The prevalence of maternal underweight (45.3%) and overweight (9.8%) and low birthweight (19.1%) remained relatively constant over the study period. Our findings highlight that in some rural and peri‐urban areas in South Asia, tackling systemic drivers of malnutrition may be more effective than targeted interventions based on season

By: Locks LM, Patel A, Katz E, Simmons E, Hibberd P.

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