Prenatal supplementation with multiple micronutrient supplements or medium-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements has limited effects on child growth up to 24 months in rural Niger: a secondary analysis of a cluster randomized trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Mar 4;115(3):738-748. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab404.


Background: Prenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) and lipid-based nutrient supplementation (LNS) can improve birth outcomes relative to iron-folic acid supplementation (IFA); however, effects on child postnatal growth remain unclear.

Objectives: The aim was to compare the effect of prenatal MMS, medium-quantity LNS (MQ-LNS), and IFA on child growth up to 2 y of age.

Methods: We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial of prenatal nutritional supplementation in Madarounfa, Niger. Villages were randomly assigned for pregnant women to receive IFA (17 villages, 1105 women), MMS (18 villages, 1083 women) or MQ-LNS (18 villages, 1144 women). Pregnant women received nutritional supplements weekly until delivery, and children were followed up monthly from 6-8 wk to 24 mo of age. We assessed the effect of prenatal MMS and MQ-LNS compared with IFA and the effect of prenatal MMS compared with MQ-LNS on child length-for-age z scores (LAZ), weight-for-age z scores (WAZ), and weight-for-length z scores (WLZ) at 24 mo of age using generalized linear models. In secondary analyses, we used mixed-effects models to assess the trajectories of anthropometric z scores longitudinally from 6-8 wk to 24 mo.

Results: Compared with IFA, MMS and MQ-LNS had no effect on child LAZ, WAZ, or WLZ at 24 mo of age (P > 0.05). Children in the MQ-LNS arm had significantly higher mid-upper arm circumference at 24 mo than children in the MMS arm: mean difference 0.50 cm (95% CI 0.10, 0.91 cm). WAZ and WLZ trajectories were more negative in the MQ-LNS arm compared with IFA and MMS, with lower z scores from 14 to 20 mo of age. However, WAZ and WLZ trajectories converged after 20 mo of age, and there were no differences by 24 mo of age.

Conclusions: Prenatal MMS and MQ-LNS had limited effect on anthropometric measures of child growth up to 24 mo of age as compared with IFA in rural Niger.

Keywords: Niger; child growth; lipid-based nutrient supplements; multiple micronutrient supplementation; prenatal supplementation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / pharmacology
  • Niger
  • Nutrients
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamins*


  • Lipids
  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamins