Nutrition during pregnancy and early development (NuPED) in urban South Africa: a study protocol for a prospective cohort
Symington, Elizabeth A.
Smuts, Cornelius M.
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Background Adequate nutrition during pregnancy is important to ensure optimal birth outcomes, maternal health and offspring development. However, little is known about the dietary intake and nutritional status of pregnant women residing in urban South Africa. Therefore, the Nutrition during Pregnancy and Early Development (NuPED) cohort study was initiated to assess early nutrition-related exposures predictive of early childhood development in urban South Africa. Methods The aims of this prospective cohort study are: 1) to assess dietary intake and nutritional status of urban pregnant women in Johannesburg, South Africa, and 2) to determine associations with birth outcomes, measures of maternal health, as well as measures of offspring health and development. Pregnant women (< 18 weeks’ gestation) (n = 250) are being recruited from primary healthcare clinics in Johannesburg and are followed-up at a provincial hospital. Participants’ dietary intake and nutrient status (focus on micronutrients and fatty acids) are assessed at < 18, 22 and 36 weeks’ gestation. Additional assessments during pregnancy include anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, obstetric ultrasound screens, and assessments of food security, maternal fatigue, prenatal depression, allergy, immune function, morbidity and gestational diabetes. At birth, maternal and neonatal health is assessed and an umbilical cord blood sample collected. Maternal and offspring health is followed-up at 6 weeks, as well as at 6, ≈7.5 and 12 months after birth. Follow-up assessments of mothers include anthropometric measures, diet history, nutrient status, blood pressure, breast milk composition, and measures of postnatal depression and fatigue. Follow-up assessments of the offspring include feeding practices, nutrient status, measures of growth, psychomotor, socio-emotional and immune development, morbidity, allergy, as well as analysis of the gut microbiome and the epigenome. Discussion Ensuring adequate nutrition during pregnancy is one of the key actions endorsed by the South African Government to promote optimal early childhood development in an effort to eradicate poverty. The results from this study may serve as a basis for the development of context-specific nutritional interventions which can improve birth outcomes and long-term quality of life of the mother and her offspring
- Faculty of Health Sciences