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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2004 Jun;85 Suppl 1:S24-7.

Vitamin A deficiency as a preventable cause of maternal mortality in undernourished societies: plausibility and next steps.

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Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Maternal vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in the developing world. Recent evidence from Nepal suggests that supplementing populations of rural, poor, and undernourished women with a recommended dietary amount of vitamin A--or its equivalent as beta-carotene--can lower mortality risk related to pregnancy and childbirth, presumably by reducing the severity of conditions such as sepsis, tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases. An adequate intake of beta-carotene may also reduce some maternal health risks related to oxidative stress. These findings reveal the potential for vitamin A and other micronutrient interventions to improve maternal and infant health and survival. They also present important implementation challenges for the developing world.

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