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Maternal nutrition among women from Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Nigeria, and potential implications for pregnancy outcomes among immigrant populations in developed countries.Pregnant women in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are at risk of poor nutritional status and adverse outcomes as a result of poverty, food insecurity, sub-optimal healthcare facilities, frequent infections and frequent pregnancies. Studies from Nigeria, for example, have revealed a high prevalence of both under- and over-nutrition, as well as nutrient deficiencies, including iron, folate, vitamin D and vitamin A. Subsequently, obstetric complications, including hypertension, anaemia, neural tube defects, night-blindness, low birth weight and maternal and perinatal mortality, are common. Migration patterns from SSA to the Western world are on the rise in recent years, with Nigerians now representing the most prevalent immigrant African population in many developed countries. However, the effect of immigration, if any, on the nutritional status and pregnancy outcomes of these women in their host countries has not yet been studied. Consequently, it is unknown to what extent the nutritional deficiencies and pregnancy complications occurring in Nigeria, and other countries of SSA, present in these women post-emigration. This may result in missed opportunities for appropriate antenatal care of a potential high-risk group in pregnancy. The present review discusses the literature regarding nutrition in pregnancy among SSA women, using Nigeria as an example, the common nutrition-related complications that arise and the subsequent obstetric outcomes. The concept of dietary acculturation among immigrant groups is also discussed and deficiencies in the literature regarding studies on the diets of pregnant immigrant women are highlighted.
Vitamin D nutritional status in preterm infants and response to supplementation.Little is known about vitamin D status in preterm infants and their response to supplementation. To investigate this, we assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels using RIA in a consecutive sample of stable preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (born ≤ 32 weeks gestation or birth weight ≤ 1·5 kg), and we explored associated factors. Serum 25OHD level was first assessed once infants were tolerating feeds (n 274). If this first 25OHD level was below 50 nmol/l (20 ng/ml), which is the level associated with covering requirements in terms of skeletal health in the majority, then we recommended prolonged augmented vitamin D intake ( ≥ 10 μg (400 IU) daily) from a combination of fortified feeds and vitamin supplements and follow-up re-assessment at approximately 6 weeks corrected age (n 148). The first assessment, conducted at a median for chronological age of 18 (interquartile range (IQR) 11-28) d, found that 78 % had serum 25OHD levels below 50 nmol/l. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that the determinants of serum 25OHD levels were duration of vitamin D supplementation and gestational age at birth (r 2 0·215; P< 0·001). At follow-up, after a median of 104 (IQR 78-127) d, 87 % achieved levels ≥ 50 nmol/l and 8 % had levels >125 nmol/l, a level associated with potential risk of harm. We conclude that low 25OHD levels are an issue for preterm VLBW infants, warranting early nutritional intervention. In infants with serum 25OHD levels < 50 nmol/l, a vitamin D intake of ≥ 10 μg (400 IU) daily achieves target levels in the majority; however, further work is needed to determine the exact dose to safely meet target levels without overcorrection.