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PLoS One. 2019 May 2;14(5):e0215760. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215760. eCollection 2019.

Lipid based nutrient supplements during pregnancy may improve foetal growth in HIV infected women - A cohort study.

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Centre for Child Health Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere, University, Tampere, Finland.
Department of Paediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
Department of Nutrition, University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America.
School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi.



Both maternal HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy are associated with adverse birth outcomes. The role of antenatal nutrient supplements with regard to adverse birth outcomes in HIV infected women exposed to antiretroviral therapy is not well known. We assessed the association between HIV and birth outcomes and explored whether antenatal lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) modulated this association.


We analysed a nested cohort of pregnant Malawian women who received daily LNS, multiple micronutrients (MMN) or iron and folic acid (IFA). Birth weight, length-for-age z-score (LAZ) and weight-for-age z-score (WAZ) were analysed as continuous outcomes and proportion of stunting and small-for-gestational age (SGA) as dichotomous outcomes.


134 HIV infected (46 LNS, 39 MMN, 49 IFA) and 833 HIV uninfected (271 LNS, 287 MMN, 275 IFA) women were included. Maternal HIV infection was associated with a lower mean birth weight (-129g (-209, -48), P = 0.002); LAZ (-0.34 (-0.54, -0.13), P = 0.002) and WAZ (-0.21 (-0.40, -0.02), P = 0.041) and a higher risk of stunting (RR (95% confidence interval), 1.87 (1.24, 2.83), P = 0.003) and SGA (1.66 (1.21, 2.26), P = 0.001) in the newborn. If the women received LNS, HIV was not associated with LAZ (mean difference (95%); -0.02 (-0.35, 0.31), P = 0.918) or newborn stunting (RR (95% CI), 0.84 (0.34, 2.03), P = 0.691). However HIV tended to be associated with LAZ if the women received MMN (-0.42 (-0.80, -0.03), P = 0.053); and was significantly associated with LAZ if the women received IFA (-0.52 (-0.89, -0.14), P = 0.021) and with newborn stunting if they received MMN (2.40 (1.15, 4.98), P = 0.029) or IFA (2.40 (1.26, 4.59), P = 0.024).


Further research to investigate the impact of LNS on various aspects of foetal growth in HIV infected women is warranted.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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