Growth from Birth through Six Months for Infants of Mothers in the “Women First” Preconception Maternal Nutrition Trial


Focus Areas: Health & Wellness

Objective: To evaluate whether the fetal linear growth effects of maternal nutrition supplementation would be maintained through 6 months postnatal age.

Study design: The Women First trial (WF) was a multi-country individually randomized clinical trial that compared the impact of maternal nutrition supplementation initiated preconception (Arm 1) vs at ∼11 weeks gestation (Arm 2), vs. no supplement (Arm 3); the intervention was discontinued at delivery. Trial sites were Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, and Pakistan. Analysis includes 2421 infants born to 2408 randomized women. Primary outcome was the trajectory of length-for-age Z-scores (LAZ) by arm, based on assessments at birth and 1, 3, and 6 months. We fitted longitudinal models on growth from birth to 6 months using generalized estimating equations; maternal intervention effects were evaluated, adjusting for site and baseline maternal covariates.

Results: Linear growth for Arms 1 and 2 was statistically greater than for Arm 3 in 3 of the 4 countries, with average pairwise mean differences in LAZ of 0.25 (95% CI, 0.15,0.35; P < .001) and 0.19 (95% CI, 0.09,0.28; P<0.001), respectively. Compared to Arm 3, average overall adjusted relative risks (95% CI) for stunting (LAZ <-2) were lower for Arms 1 and 2: 0.76 (0.66,0.87, P<0.001) and 0.77 (0.67,0.88; P<0.001), respectively.

Conclusions: Improved linear growth in early infancy observed for the 2 intervention arms supports the critical importance of maternal nutrition prior to conception and in the early phase of gestation.

Krebs NF, Hambidge KM, Westcott JL, Garcés AL, Figueroa L, Tsefu AK, Lokangaka AL, Goudar SS, Dhaded SM, Saleem S, Ali SA, Bose CL, Derman RJ, Goldenberg RL, Thorsten VR, Sridhar A, Chowdhury D, Das A; Women First Preconception Maternal Nutrition Study Group. Growth from Birth through Six Months for Infants of Mothers in the "Women First" Preconception Maternal Nutrition Trial. J Pediatr. 2020 Sep 18:S0022-3476(20)31165-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.09.032. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32956698.