Background: Prenatal balanced protein energy supplementation consumed by undernourished women improves mid-upper arm circumference in early infancy. This study aimed to identify whether locally produced maternal food-based supplementation improved anthropometric measures at birth and early infancy. Methods: A village-matched evaluation, applying principles of a cluster randomised controlled trial, of a locally produced supplemental food to 87 undernourished pregnant women. 12 villages (intervention: n = 8; control: n = 4) in Pirganj sub-district, Rangpur District, northern Bangladesh. Daily supplements were provided. Results: Anthropometric data at birth were available for 77 mother-infant dyads and longer-term infant growth data for 75 infants. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) was significantly larger in infants of mothers in the intervention group compared with the control group at 6 months (p < 0.05). The mean birth weight in babies of supplemented mothers (mean: 2.91 kg; SD: 0.19) was higher than in babies of mothers in the control group (mean: 2.72 kg; SD: 0.13), and these changes persisted until 6 months. Also, the proportion of low birth weight babies in the intervention group was much lower (event rate = 0.04) than in the control group (event rate = 0.16). However, none of these differences were statistically significant (p > 0.05; most likely due to small sample size). The intervention reduced the risk of wasting at 6 months by 63.38% (RRR = 0.6338), and of low birth weight by 88.58% (RRR = 0.8858), with NNT of 2.22 and 6.32, respectively. Only three pregnant women require this intervention in order to prevent wasting at 6 months in one child, and seven need the intervention to prevent low birth weight of one child. Conclusions: Locally produced food-based balanced protein energy supplementation in undernourished pregnant women in northern Bangladesh resulted in larger MUAC in infants at 6 months. Further research, with larger sample sizes, is required to confirm the role of locally produced supplementation for undernourished pregnant women on weight and linear growth in newborns and infants.
- Balanced protein energy supplementation
- Low birth weight
- Low-income country
- Maternal undernutrition