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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2002 Dec;72(6):389-93.

Effect of traditional food supplementation during pregnancy on maternal weight gain and birthweight.

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  • 1National Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 19395_4741, Tehran, I.R. Iran.


The effects of supplementary traditional food on pregnant women were investigated in a clinical trial in Islamshahr, a suburban area 35 km southwest of Tehran. The study comprised 53 healthy mothers who were neither addicts nor on medication and were free from genetic disorders. The pregnant mothers' health was evaluated by their weight gain, that of lactating mothers by breast milk adequacy, and that of newborns by their weight at birth. The experimental group received traditional food (rice-milk porridge, lentils, pottage, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and milk with bread), supplying an extra 400 kcal energy and 15 g protein from the fourth month of pregnancy until childbirth. All subjects were weighed monthly. To ascertain breast milk sufficiency, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the growth trend of infants were surveyed. The study showed the weight gain in the experimental and control groups to be 11.0 +/- 2.9 and 8.5 +/- 3 kg respectively; the difference was 29.4% and statistically significant (p < 0.02). The confounding variables (energy and protein intake, age, height, BMI, age at first pregnancy, parity, last pregnancy spacing, number of children, number of miscarriages, duration of residence in the area, family size, education, housing, occupation of the mother or her husband) did not reveal any significant differences. Maternal weight gain was higher in the experimental compared to the control group. Birth weights in experimental and control groups were 3.33 +/- 0.4 and 3.08 +/- 0.3 kg, respectively. This difference, which amounts to 8.1%, was statistically significant (p < 0.05). While the two groups of newborns had equal breastfeeding duration, heights and weights of newborns were significantly higher in the experimental group. This was also confirmed when compared to the NCHS figures.

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