This review looks at the evidence for multiple micronutrient supplementation of pregnant women and the effect on birth outcomes.
Micronutrient deficiencies are known to interact and a greater effect may be achieved by multiple supplementation rather than single nutrient supplementation, although interactions may also lead to poor absorption of some of the nutrients.
Overall, the review of data showed that multiple-micronutrient supplementation reduced the number LBW and SGA babies when compared with iron and folic acid supplements, no supplementation or a placebo.
The authors conclude that whilst multiple micronutrients have been found to have a significant beneficial impact on SGA and LBW babies, more evidence is required to guide a universal policy change and to suggest replacement of routine iron and folate supplementation with a multiple micronutrient supplement. They also suggest that future research should examine the effects on mortality and morbidity and assess the effects of different combinations and dosages of micronutrients.