Cuba's prenatal program improves low birth weights, study finds

September 25, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Comprehensive prenatal care can decrease the rate of low birth weights, according to a study led by Dr. Yasmin Neggers, a University of Alabama researcher and professor of human nutrition and hospitality management.

Neggers and her colleague, Dr. Kristi Crowe, UA assistant professor of nutrition, traveled to Havana, Cuba during February 2012 to conduct research on the relationship between comprehensive prenatal care and rate of in this developing country.

Low birth weight, or LBW, – less than five and a half pounds at birth – is a significant factor affecting and predictor of .

Neggers, whose main research focus is nutrition during pregnancy, was intrigued by Cuba's low rate of LBW.

"Cuba, being a third-world, developing country, has a LBW rate that is half that of Alabama. It was kind of surprising."

She and Crowe, assistant professor of nutrition, looked at the factors that are usually linked to low birth weight such as smoking, gaining weight during pregnancy and .

All of those factors were not in Cuba's favor.

"All the typical risk factors that cause low birth rate are better in the United States and Alabama," Neggers said. "So, we looked at prenatal care, the care before and during pregnancy, and there was the difference. Prenatal care in Cuba is so much better than typical U.S. care, especially compared to Alabama."

Pregnant women in Cuba are provided free prenatal visits to their doctors very frequently, get adequate and regular screenings and , including vitamin and mineral supplements, and get the proper remedies if something is amiss.

"Here, especially in poor and rural counties, prenatal care is often infrequent, and only half of the women get adequate prenatal care. Some just go to the emergency room to have the baby – they never have any prenatal care."

Working with faculty at the University of Havana and the Cuban Institute of Nutrition and Hygiene, Neggers and Crowe are developing a proposal for further research.

Explore further: Homelessness' impact on mothers, babies

Related Stories

Homelessness' impact on mothers, babies

August 18, 2011
A BYU study appearing in Pediatrics found that pregnant women who were homeless at some point in a 12-month period leading up to their deliveries had babies with lower birth weights.

Post-traumatic stress disorder linked to smaller birth weight and shorter gestation

July 28, 2011
Women with post-traumatic stress disorder are likely to have smaller babies and deliver prematurely, a new University of Michigan study suggests.

Reseacher finds possible lipid metabolism disorder in children with autism

February 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- University of Alabama researcher Dr. Yasmin Neggers, a professor of human nutrition and hospitality management, found a possible lipid metabolism disorder in children with autism.

Recommended for you

Is rushing your child to the ER the right response?

October 16, 2017
If a child gets a small burn from a hot pan, starts choking or swallows medication, parents may struggle to decide whether to provide first aid at home or rush them to the hospital, suggests a new national poll.

Happier mealtimes, healthier eating for kids

October 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents who struggle to get their children to follow a healthy diet may want to make dinnertime a pleasant experience, new research suggests.

Children born prematurely have greater risk of cognitive difficulties later in life

October 11, 2017
Babies born preterm have a greater risk of developing cognitive, motor and behavioural difficulties and these problems persist throughout school years, finds a new study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Helping preemies avoid unnecessary antibiotics

October 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Researchers say they have identified three criteria that suggest an extremely premature infant has a low risk of developing sepsis, which might allow doctors to spare these babies early exposure to antibiotics.

Got a picky eater? How 'nature and nurture' may be influencing eating behavior in young children

October 3, 2017
For most preschool-age children, picky eating is just a normal part of growing up. But for others, behaviors such as insisting on only eating their favorite food item—think chicken nuggets at every meal—or refusing to ...

Anxious moms may give clues about how anxiety develops

September 27, 2017
Moms may be notorious worriers, but babies of anxious mothers may also spend more time focusing on threats in their environment, according to a team of researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.