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1.  Effects of antenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation on children's weight and size at 2 years of age in Nepal: follow-up of a double-blind randomised controlled trial 
Lancet  2008;371(9611):492-499.
The negative effects of low birthweight on the later health of children in developing countries have been well studied. However, undertaking programmes to address this issue can be difficult since there is no simple correlation between increasing birthweight and improving child health. In 2005, we published results of a randomised controlled trial in Nepal, in which 1200 women received either iron and folic acid or a supplement that provided the recommended daily allowance of 15 vitamins and minerals, over the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Here, we report on 2–3 years' follow-up of children born during the trial.
We visited children at home and obtained data for the primary outcomes of weight and height, for childhood illnesses, and maternal blood haemoglobin. The study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN88625934.
Between December, 2005, and December, 2006, we assessed 917 children (455 controls, 462 intervention) at a mean age of 2·5 years. Mean birthweight had been 77 g (95% CI 24–130) greater in the micronutrient group than in controls. At 2·5 years old, controls weighed a mean of 10·7 kg (SD 1·38), and those in the intervention group 10·9 kg (SD 1·54). Children of women who had taken multiple micronutrient supplements during pregnancy were a mean 204 g (95% CI 27–381) heavier than controls. They also had greater measurements than controls in the circumference of the head (2·4 mm [95% CI 0·6–4·3]), chest (3·2 mm [0·4–6·0]), and mid-upper arm (2·4 mm [1·1–3·7]), and in triceps skinfold thickness (2·0 mm [0·0–0·4]). Systolic blood pressure was slightly lower in the intervention group (2·5 mm Hg [0·5–4·6]).
In a poor population, the effects of maternal multiple micronutrient supplementation on the fetus persisted into childhood, with increases in both weight and body size. These increases were small, however, since those exposed to micronutrients had an average of 2% higher weight than controls. The public-health implications of changes in weight and blood pressure need to be clarified through further follow-up.
PMCID: PMC2241662  PMID: 18262041
2.  Behaviour change in perinatal care practices among rural women exposed to a women's group intervention in Nepal [ISRCTN31137309] 
A randomised controlled trial of participatory women's groups in rural Nepal previously showed reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. In addition to the outcome data we also collected previously unreported information from the subgroup of women who had been pregnant prior to study commencement and conceived during the trial period. To determine the mechanisms via which the intervention worked we here examine the changes in perinatal care of these women. In particular we use the information to study factors affecting positive behaviour change in pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
Women's groups focusing on perinatal care were introduced into 12 of 24 study clusters (average cluster population 7000). A total of 5400 women of reproductive age enrolled in the trial had previously been pregnant and conceived during the trial period.
For each of four outcomes (attendance at antenatal care; use of a boiled blade to cut the cord; appropriate dressing of the cord; not discarding colostrum) each of these women was classified as BETTER, GOOD, BAD or WORSE to describe whether and how she changed her pre-trial practice. Multilevel multinomial models were used to identify women most responsive to intervention.
Among those not initially following good practice, women in intervention areas were significantly more likely to do so later for all four outcomes (OR 1.92 to 3.13). Within intervention clusters, women who attended groups were more likely to show a positive change than non-group members with regard to antenatal care utilisation and not discarding colostrum, but non-group members also benefited.
Women's groups promoted significant behaviour change for perinatal care amongst women not previously following good practice. Positive changes attributable to intervention were not restricted to specific demographic subgroups.
PMCID: PMC1513253  PMID: 16776818

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