Anemia and micronutrient deficiencies in pregnant women are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. In Niger 58.6% of pregnant women are anemic; however, micronutrient statuses are unknown. The study objectives were to estimate the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant women in Zinder, Niger and explore associated risk factors.
Pregnant women living in randomly selected rural villages (n=85) were included. Capillary (n=921) and venous blood samples (n=770) were analyzed for hemoglobin (Hb) and plasma ferritin (Fer), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), zinc (pZn), retinol binding protein (RBP), folate and vitamin B12. C-reactive protein and alpha-1 acid glycoprotein were measured to adjust for inflammation.
Prevalence of anemia was 82.7% (Hb<11g/dL). Prevalence of iron deficiency was 21.7% and 65.4%, by Fer (<15µg/L) and sTfR (>8.3mg/L), respectively. 42.7% of women had low pZn (<50µg/dL) and 79.5% had low vitamin A status (<1.32µmol/L). 44.3% of women had low folate (<10nmol/L) and 77.7% had low or marginal B12 concentrations (<221pmol/L).Adolescence and primigravidae were associated with lower Hb and higher Fer concentrations, compared to non-adolescent or multigravidae women; other micronutrient concentrations did not differ between these groups. Women with a previous pregnancy ending in miscarriage, stillbirth or child death had lower Hb and Fer, and higher sTfR, concentrations than women whose child from the previous pregnancy is living.
The prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in pregnant woman was high, indicative of a severe public health problem. Pregnant women should be targeted with strengthened nutritional interventions through antenatal care. The provision of multiple micronutrient supplementation should be considered.