The effect of nutritional status of women on the outcome of pregnancy in Sierra Leone, west Africa

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Tucker, Margaret Anne-Marie Kofa Jah
Roepke, Judith B.
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Thesis (M.S.)
Department of Home Economics
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The nutritional status of 78 women was assessed during the third trimester of pregnancy. The study was conducted in military barracks in Sierra Leone with 39 adolescent women (<20 years) and 39 adult women (>20 years).Twenty-four hour dietary recall interviews and anthropometric measures were collected. Laboratory, clinical and physiological data were obtained from the subjects' medical records. The dietary analysis of the diets consumed by adolescent and adult women showed differences in the intakes of only calcium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and sodium. The average diet consumed by the women was <2/3 the recommended guidelines for carbohydrate and <2/3 the Recommended Dietary Allowances for persons in the U.S. for kilocalories, protein, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folacin, pantothenic acid, cholesterol, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc. The women consumed diets that were >100 percent of the RDA for vitamins A, C, E, niacin and selenium. Differences occurred in the infant birthweights and Apgar scores at 1, 5 and 10 minutes between women who had abnormal measures for hemoglobin, hematocrit, ketonuria, albuminuria, glycosuria and/or malaria parasites and the women who were healthy.Maternal weight gain, age and infant health status did not correlate. The average weight gain for all the women was 17.85 kg which is within the acceptable range recommended for pregnancy. Maternal weight-at-term, gestational age, triceps skinfolds, arm circumference, hemoglobin, hematocrit were correlated with infant birthweight, length and head circumference. Maternal hemoglobin and hematocrit further correlated with infant Apgar scores at 1, 5 and 10 minutes.Hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were very low for the average women in the study (X 9.7 g/dl and 29.7 percent respectively). The malaria reduced the infant birthweight by 431 g. Albuminuria and ketonuria were associated with reduced infant birthweight while modest glycosuria was associated with increased birthweight.