Background Maternal nutrition in preconception and early pregnancy influences fetal growth. Evidence for effects of prenatal maternal nutrition on early child development (ECD) in low-income and middle-income countries is limited. Objectives To examine impact of maternal nutrition supplementation initiated prior to or during pregnancy on ECD, and to examine potential association of postnatal growth with ECD domains. Design Secondary analysis regarding the offspring of participants of a maternal multicountry, individually randomised trial. Setting Rural Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India and Pakistan. Participants 667 offspring of Women First trial participants, aged 24 months. Intervention Maternal lipid-based nutrient supplement initiated preconceptionally (arm 1, n=217), 12 weeks gestation (arm 2, n=230) or not (arm 3, n=220); intervention stopped at delivery. Main outcome measures The INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment (INTER-NDA) cognitive, language, gross motor, fine motor, positive and negative behaviour scores; visual acuity and contrast sensitivity scores and auditory evoked response potentials (ERP). Anthropometric z-scores, family care indicators (FCI) and sociodemographic variables were examined as covariates. Results No significant differences were detected among the intervention arms for any INTER-NDA scores across domains, vision scores or ERP potentials. After adjusting for covariates, length-for-age z-score at 24 months (LAZ 24), socio-economic status, maternal education and FCI significantly predicted vision and INTER-NDA scores (R 2 =0.11-0.38, p<0.01). Conclusions Prenatal maternal nutrition supplementation was not associated with any neurodevelopmental outcomes at age 2 years. Maternal education, family environment and LAZ 24 predicted ECD. Interventions addressing multiple components of the nurturing care model may offer greatest impact on children's developmental potential. Trial registration number NCT01883193.
- child development