The Influence of Maternal Socio-Economic and Nutritional Status on Foetal Malnutrition in Nigeria
Keywords:Foetal Malnutrition, Women, Socio-Economic, Occupation, Nigeria
Objective: To determine the role of maternal socioeconomic and nutritional status in the aetiology of foetal malnutrition in Nigeria.
Patients and Methods: This was a prospective study of the records of consecutive mothers who delivered singleton, term, live babies between January and August 2001 at the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, Nigeria. The socio-economic classes of the parents were determined; also the nutritional status of the mothers was determined using the body mass index (BMI). Foetal malnutrition/wasting was diagnosed using Clinical Assessment of Foetal Nutritional Status (CANS) and the score (CANSCORE) as adapted by Metcoff. Babies were classified into those with foetal malnutrition (FM) and those without FM. The two groups were compared.
Results: Of the 473 studied, 89 [18.8%] had FM. The BMI of the mothers ranged between 16.47 and 44.15 kg/m . Twenty-five (5.4%) of the 473 mothers had low BMI (< 18.5 kg/m ). The prevalence of low BMI (< 18.5 kg/m ) was significantly higher among mothers whose infants had FM than in controls (72% versus 28%, χ = 49.3 p = 0.0000). Significantly higher proportions of babies with foetal malnutrition were delivered by mothers of lower social groups (class IV and V) χ = 7.6 p = 0.002. Thus, significantly greater numbers of babies with foetal malnutrition were delivered by mothers of the lower social group occupations for example petty trading (χ =5.2, p< 0.02), subsistence farming (χ = 7.0, p<0.01), messengers and similar unskilled labour jobs (χ =5.2, p<0.02) compared with the higher social group occupation mothers.
Conclusion: Improvement in the socio-economic and nutritional status of mothers is likely to reduce the prevalence of FM in Nigeria.