1921
Volume 77, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the role of malaria in the etiology of fetal malnutrition in Nigeria. This study took place at the Neonatal and Maternity Units of the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, Nigeria. This is a prospective study of 304 consecutive, singleton, term live births delivered between January and August 2002. Anthropometric and clinical data were recorded. Fetal malnutrition (FM; failure to acquire adequate quantum of fat and muscle mass during intrauterine growth) was diagnosed using clinical assessment of fetal nutritional status (CANS) and the score (CANSCORE) adapted by Metcoff. The placenta tissues were examined for malaria pigments and parasites, and placental and cord blood smears were examined for parasites. Babies were followed up in the neonatal period for clinical malaria. Babies were grouped into those with malaria-infected placental and cord blood specimens and those without. The two groups were compared with regard to the proportions with FM and complications of FM. Three hundred four placental and cord blood specimens were examined for malaria. Of the 304, 101 (33.2%) of the placental and 67 (22.0%) of the cord blood specimens were positive for malaria. Sixty-six (21.7%) of the 304 babies had FM. Forty-four (66.7%) of the 66 placental blood specimens of babies with FM were positive for malaria, whereas 57 (24.0%) of the 238 placentae of babies without FM had placental malaria (χ =42.5, < 0.0001). Similarly, 27 (40.9%) of 66 babies with FM compared with 40 (16.8%) among 238 babies without FM had malaria parasites in the cord blood (χ =17.5, < 0.001). The means of birth weight, ponderal index, and placenta weight were significantly lower among the babies of mothers with malaria-infected placentae than those without ( < 0.05 in all cases). Lack of antenatal care, primiparity, and failure to have chemoprophylaxis against malaria were the maternal factors found to be associated with placental malaria infection. Placental malaria is a major factor in the etiology of FM in Nigeria.

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2007-08-01
2017-11-20
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  • Received : 04 Aug 2006
  • Accepted : 30 Apr 2007

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