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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2000 Dec;20(4):253-8.

Folate and intrauterine growth retardation.

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Department of Nutrition, Public Health School, University of São Paulo, Avenida Dr Arnaldo 715, São Paulo, 01246-904, Brazil.


The objectives of this case-control study were to compare the levels of folate in cord and maternal blood of 315 mothers who had intrauterine growth-retarded (IUGR) babies and 321 mothers who had appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) babies, to evaluate the correlation between cord and maternal folate and to assess the prevalence of folate deficiency. Mothers were recruited from the four largest hospitals in Campinas city, south-east Brazil. The gestational ages of the newborns were evaluated by the Capurro method. They were classified as being IUGR according to the Lubchenco birthweight-for-gestational-age standard. Red blood cell (RBC) folate was measured by radio-immunoassay. Slightly more IUGR (25.7%) than AGA babies (19.9%) had cord folate levels < or = 226.5 nmol/l (100 ng/ml) (p = 0.05) and similar percentages of IUGR (32.1%) and AGA (29.9%) mothers had folate levels < or = 226.5 nmol/l. Mean cord folate levels in IUGR and AGA babies were 10% higher than mean folate levels in the two groups of mothers (p < 0.001). There were weak correlations between maternal and cord folate in IUGR (r = 0.31) and AGA (r = 0.35) (p < 0.001) mother/baby groups. In this population, 35% of mothers were folate-deficient although it was not associated with IUGR. Nevertheless, it would be important to give Brazilian women folate tablets during pregnancy and to investigate the effect on concentrations of homocysteine and on the prevalence of birth defects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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