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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-37

Prevalence of and risk factors for fetal malnutrition in term babies delivered at a Tertiary Hospital in Southern Nigeria

1 Department of Paediatrics, Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Peace Ibo Opara
Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcn.JCN_98_17

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Introduction: Fetal malnutrition (FM) is a “clinical state of a baby of any birth weight, characterized by obvious intrauterine loss or failure to acquire normal amounts of subcutaneous fat and muscle mass, manifesting as wasting, shortfalls in weight, length and other anthropometric measurements.” It is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the newborn. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of and risk factors associated with FM in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: This was a prospective hospital-based study, carried out at the labor Wards of a tertiary hospital in Southern Nigeria. Baby-mother pairs who met the inclusion criteria for the study were recruited consecutively. Relevant biodata was recorded, and babies' nutritional status was assessed using the Clinical Assessment of Nutritional Status Score chart. Data were entered into a Microsoft Excel sheet and analyzed using standard statistical tools. Results: Of 300 newborns studied, 176 (58.7%) were male and 124 (41.3%) females with a male:female ratio of 1.4:1. The prevalence of FM was (16.7%). Babies with FM had significantly lower anthropometric indices (length, occipitofrontal circumference, and mid-upper arm circumference) than their counterparts (P = 0.00). Being small for gestational age and nonuse of at least one dose of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy were significantly associated with the occurrence of FM (P < 0.005). Conclusion: The prevalence of FM in Port Harcourt is high and highlights the need for evolving appropriate interventions and strategies for its prevention.

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