Background: Maternal malnutrition and poor gestational weight gain are the most important causes of low birthweight and infant mortality in Bangladesh. Objective: To assess the effect of short-term nutrition education on weight gain in the third trimester of pregnancy, birth outcomes, and breastfeeding. Methods: Three hundred pregnant women participated in this randomized, controlled trial during a 3-month intervention period. The study was conducted in two antenatal clinics in urban Dhaka. One group of women was given monthly education sessions during the third trimester of pregnancy to promote consumption of khichuri, while the control group received only routine services from the health facilities. Birthweight was recorded within 24 hours after delivery. Breastfeeding practices were observed for 1 month after delivery. Results: In the intervention group, maternal weight gain in the third trimester was 60% higher (8.60 vs. 5.38 kg, p = .011), mean birthweight was 20% higher (2.98 vs. 2.49 kg, p < .001), the rate of low birth-weight was 94% lower (2.7% vs. 44.7%, p < .001), and the rate of initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour after birth was 52% higher (86.0% vs. 56.7%, p < .001), in comparison with the control group. Birthweight was associated with frequency of intake of khichuri (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Nutrition education with a focus on promoting consumption of khichuri during the third trimester of pregnancy significantly reduced the rate of low birthweight and increased maternal weight gain.
- nutrition education
- pregnancy weight gain