Low Levels of Some Nutritional Parameters of Pregnant Women in a Rural Community of South East Nigeria: Implications for the Attainment of the Millennium Developmental Goal

Author(s): Ogbodo SO, Nwagha UI, Okaka ANC, Okeke AC, Chukwurah FE, Ezeonu PO

Background: In developing countries, under nutrition is common, and this plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of malaria and anemia. Indeed it has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Unfortunately, published evidence concerning the situation is lacking. Objectives: To evaluate some nutritional function indices of pregnant women in a rural Nigerian community. Subjects and Methods: This is a cross sectional study involving of 171 pregnant women from a rural area in South-eastern Nigeria. They included 72 and 99 women in their second and third trimesters respectively. The control group was of 60 women, matched in age, parity and socioeconomic conditions, non-pregnant, non-menstruating and non lactating apparently healthy women. The parameters measured by standard methods included serum iron, total proteins, albumin, globulin, packed cell volume and hemoglobin. Results: The results obtained from control group, second and third trimesters, recorded as Mean (SEM) were 134.60(3.12) μg/L, 101.20(4.48) μg/L and 91.87(3.42) μg/L respectively for iron; 69.12(0.80) g/L, 63.60(0.71) g/L and 57.74(0.75) g/L for total proteins; 42.95(0.92) g/L, 35.74(1.00) g/L and 35.26(0.64) g/L for albumin; 26.77(1.00) g/L, 27.78(1.07) g/L and 22.93(0.88) g/L for globulin; 32.80(0.36%), 27.92(0.37%) and 27.73(0.34%) for packed cell volume, and 11.25(0.11) g/L, 9.59(0.13) g/L and 9.57(0.14) g/L for hemoglobin respectively. These results showed that all the parameters decreased significantly in pregnancy (P<0.001) except globulin that did not show immediate, significant decrease. Conclusion: There is a general decrease in the nutrition parameters studied among the pregnant women from our study area, indicating under-nutrition. Urgent measures should be taken to improve the nutritional status of rural dwellers especially the antioxidant micronutrients.


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