Antenatal interventions to reduce risk of low birth weight related to maternal infections during pregnancy

Yvonne Muthiani, Patricia J. Hunter, Pieta K. Näsänen-Gilmore, Annariina M. Koivu, Jaana Isojärvi, Juho Luoma, Meeri Salenius, Maryam Hadji, Ulla Ashorn, Per Ashorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Maternal infections during pregnancy have been linked to increased risk of adverse birth outcomes, including low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), small for gestational age (SGA), and stillbirth (SB). Objectives: The purpose of this article was to summarize evidence from published literature on the effect of key interventions targeting maternal infections on adverse birth outcomes. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CINAHL Complete between March 2020 and May 2020 with an update to cover until August 2022. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and reviews of RCTs of 15 antenatal interventions for pregnant women reporting LBW, PTB, SGA, or SB as outcomes. Results: Of the 15 reviewed interventions, the administration of 3 or more doses of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulphadoxine–pyrimethamine [IPTp-SP; RR: 0.80 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.94)] can reduce risk of LBW compared with 2 doses. The provision of insecticide-treated bed nets, periodontal treatment, and screening and treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria may reduce risk of LBW. Maternal viral influenza vaccination, treatment of bacterial vaginosis, intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine compared with IPTp-SP, and intermittent screening and treatment of malaria during pregnancy compared with IPTp were deemed unlikely to reduce the prevalence of adverse birth outcomes. Conclusions: At present, there is limited evidence from RCTs available for some potentially relevant interventions targeting maternal infections, which could be prioritized for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S118-S133
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue numberSupplement 2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • antenatal care
  • low birth weight
  • low- and middle-income countries
  • maternal infections
  • pregnancy
  • preterm birth
  • small for gestational age
  • stillbirth

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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