A village-matched evaluation of providing a local supplemental food during pregnancy in rural Bangladesh: A preliminary study

Briony Stevens, Kerrianne Watt, Julie Brimbecombe, Alan Clough, Jenni A. Judd, Daniel Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number286
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • Balanced protein energy supplementation
  • Bangladesh
  • Low birth weight
  • Low-income country
  • Maternal undernutrition

Cite this