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Deworming during pregnancy reduces neonatal mortality and low birthweight: Study
According to recent research published in the PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Journal, it has been observed that mothers receiving deworming treatment during pregnancy reduce the risk of their child dying within the first four weeks after birth and also can avoid low birth weight. More than 25 per cent of the world's population face the burden of soil-transmitted...
According to recent research published in the PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Journal, it has been observed that mothers receiving deworming treatment during pregnancy reduce the risk of their child dying within the first four weeks after birth and also can avoid low birth weight.
More than 25 per cent of the world's population face the burden of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections, a species of an intestinal parasite whose eggs develop in the soil before finding a new host.
The main cause of this high infection rate is lack of access to adequate sanitation facilities (toilets) and the consequent contamination of the environment with human faeces. While universal access to adequate sanitation is one of the sustainable development goals, parasite burdens are still causing harm.
Fortunately, deworming medicines are highly effective and safe. Literature shows fewer studies assessing the association between the intake of deworming medication in expectant mothers and neonatal mortality and birth weight.
Therefore, Bhavneet Walia and colleagues from the Department of Public Health, Syracuse University, New York, USA conducted the present study with the aim to measure the impact of deworming medicine during pregnancy on the subsequent risk of neonatal mortality and low birthweight.
The authors collected data on more than 800,000 births and utilized birth histories to measure the impact of routine deworming medicine during antenatal care on subsequent neonatal mortality and low birth weight for births.
The researchers matched births on the probability of receiving deworming during pregnancy. They then modelled birth outcomes with the matched group to estimate the effect of deworming during antenatal care after accounting for various risk factors. They also tested for effect modification of soil-transmitted helminth prevalence on the impact of deworming during antenatal care.
The key findings highlighted were-
- In countries with low transmission of soil-transmitted helminths, the deworming treatment decreased the odds of low birth weight by 11 per cent, although these somewhat varied in relation to transmission rates across different countries.
- Routine deworming during antenatal care decreases the risk of neonatal mortality and low birth weight.
- Intestinal worms impact the health of women and girls of reproductive age.
Hence, it was concluded that "pregnant women who received deworming medication were associated with a 14% reduction in risk for neonatal mortality, with no difference between high and low transmission countries."
Furthermore, it was found that in countries with low transmission of soil-transmitted helminths, the deworming treatment decreased the odds of low birth weight by 11 per cent, although these somewhat varied in relation to transmission rates across different countries, they inferred.
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)
Dr. Nandita Mohan is a practicing pediatric dentist with more than 5 years of clinical work experience. Along with this, she is equally interested in keeping herself up to date about the latest developments in the field of medicine and dentistry which is the driving force for her to be in association with Medical Dialogues. She also has her name attached with many publications; both national and international. She has pursued her BDS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore and later went to enter her dream specialty (MDS) in the Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry from Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences. Through all the years of experience, her core interest in learning something new has never stopped. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Contact no. 011-43720751