Impact of dietary interventions during pregnancy on maternal, neonatal, and child outcomes in low-and middle-income countries

Zohra S. Lassi, Zahra A. Padhani, Amna Rabbani, Fahad Rind, Rehana A. Salam, Jai K. Das, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Optimal nutrition plays a crucial role in pregnancy. Maternal malnutrition is a risk factor for maternal, fetal, and neonatal complications and is more prevalent in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This review aims to study the effectiveness of antenatal macronutrient nutritional interventions on maternal, neonatal, and child outcomes. We searched the CENTRAL, PubMed, Embase, and other databases for randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs on healthy pregnant women in LMICs. We also searched grey literature and reports from Google Scholar, Web of Science, and websites of different organizations. Title/abstract screening, full-text screening, and data extraction filtered 15 studies for inclusion. Balanced energy protein (BEP) supplementation (n = 8) studies showed a reduced incidence of perinatal mortality, stillbirths, low birth weight (LBW) infants, small for gestational age (SGA) babies and increased birth weight. Food distribution programs (FDPs) (n =5) witnessed reduced rates of SGA, stunting, wasting, and increased birth weight and birth length. Studies on intervention for obesity prevention (n = 2) showed reductions in birth weight. Other findings were statistically insignificant. Subgroup analyses were conducted to study the effectiveness of supplementation between regions, location, the timing of supplementation and nutritional status; however, there were a limited number of studies in each subgroup. Data from our review supports the antenatal supplementation of BEP and FDP for the prevention of adverse maternal, neonatal, and child outcomes that can be utilized for future policymaking. However, more research is required before recommending obesity prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number531
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Balanced energy protein
  • Food distribution program
  • Maternal
  • Maternal nutrition
  • Neonatal and child outcomes
  • Obesity prevention
  • Pregnancy


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