New research shows taking a daily multivitamin may provide better benefits for pregnant women than supplementation with iron and folic acid alone. Preterm births were reduced and increases in infant birth weight were seen in this randomized controlled trial.
Approximately 45,000 women from rural Bangladesh were recruited to participate in this study. Each woman was assigned to receive either a daily multivitamin or a folic acid-iron supplement. The participants were followed throughout their pregnancies and at one, three, and six months after delivery. There were about 14,000 live births in each group. At 6 months there were not significant differences in reduction in infant mortality between the 2 groups. However babies born to women in the multi vitamin group were 15% less likely to be born prematurely, 11% less likely to be stillborn and 12% less likely to have a low birth weight. In addition babies were born 2 – 3 days later in the group who supplemented with the multivitamin vs the folic-iron supplement.
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