Date: 12 Apr 2013

Assessing the Effects of Maternal Anemia on Child Development in Benin

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Abstract

More than 50 % of women develop moderate anemia during pregnancy with about 5–10 % of women developing severe anemia in Sub-Saharan Africa. Severe anemia increases the risk of mortality and morbidity in mothers, but there is limited information on anemia during pregnancy and cognitive outcome in childhood despite the very high prevalence of anemia in Sub-Saharan Africa. The main goal of this research project is to study the relationship between anemia in pregnancy and cognitive function in childhood. This study takes advantage of a group of infants born following a randomized controlled trial of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in women during pregnancy funded by the European Union. Mothers have been followed from the second trimester of pregnancy until delivery including at least three blood samples with infections (malaria) and micronutrient deficiencies analyses. Offspring are assessed with the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) at 12 months of age. A blood draw is also performed assessing Hb concentration, infections (malaria), iron deficiency, and lead in blood. So far, preliminary results show significant associations between impaired development and both environmental and care giving quality risk factors.