Fetal growth restriction is associated with malaria in pregnancy: A prospective longitudinal study in Benin

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Valérie Briand, Jessica Saal, Caline Ghafari, Bich-Tram Huynh, Nadine Fievet, Christentze Schmiegelow, Achille Massougbodji, Philippe Deloron, Jennifer Zeitlin, Michel Cot

BACKGROUND: Few studies have evaluated the effect of malaria on intrauterine growth restriction on the basis of the fetal growth rate, rather than just the small-for-gestational age z score. Here, we assessed the impact of malaria on IUGR, using data from a longitudinal, ultrasonography-based follow-up study of Beninese women.

METHODS: A total of 1016 women were followed up from gestational week 17 to delivery. Malaria was detected every month. Women underwent ultrasonography 4 times for gestational age determination and fetal biometry. We assessed the effect of malaria on birth weight-for-gestational age z score (n = 735 women) and fetal growth velocity (n = 664), defined as a change in fetal weight z score over time.

RESULTS: Malaria was detected in 43% of women. Fetal growth velocity was negative overall, decreasing further at the end of the third trimester. Women with ≥2 malarial parasite infections tended to have lower z scores than uninfected women. Malaria both in early and late pregnancy was associated with a reduction in fetal growth velocity, which occurred either immediately or with a delay after infection.

DISCUSSIONS: We confirmed the deleterious effect of malaria during both early and late pregnancy on fetal growth. This stresses the importance of starting preventive measures against malaria as early as possible during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)417-425
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

ID: 163760810