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May 1975

Infection and Low Birth Weight in a Developing Country: A Study in an Indian Village of Guatemala

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Environmental Biology, Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, Guatemala City (Drs. Urrutia and Mata, Messrs. Trent and Cruz, and Ms. Villatoro), and the Department of Epidemiology and International Health, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr. Alexander). Dr. Mata is now with the University of Costa Rica, Guadalupe.

Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(5):558-561. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120420014005

The causes of fetal growth retardation and premature delivery are not well defined. Although diet, smoking, maternal weight and height, and social class can be correlated with the size of the fetus, the relative contribution of other factors to fetal growth has not been clarified. Among such factors in developing countries, the highly prevalent infectious diseases occupy a prominent place. This report summarizes studies of the frequency of infections in pregnant women and discusses their possible influence on intrauterine growth.

PATIENTS AND METHODS  The present data were derived from a long-term prospective investigation of the interactions of nutrition and infection and the outcome of pregnancy in a highland Indian village.1-3 Since 1972, all women of child-bearing age have been visited every month and interviewed regarding their menses. A urine gonadotrophin test was used for the diagnosis of pregnancy in women reporting amenorrhea. Each pregnant woman underwent anthropometric and obstetric

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