Introduction Vitamin B12 is crucial for normal cell division and differentiation, and necessary for the development and myelination of the central nervous system. Pregnant mothers in resource poor settings are at risk for poor vitamin B12 status. Poor vitamin B12 status in infancy is linked to poor growth and neurodevelopment. Brain development starts from conception, and pregnancy is a period of rapid growth and development for the brain. Methods and analysis The study is an individually randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial in 800 pregnant Nepalese women randomised in a 1:1 ratio. A daily dose of 50 μg of vitamin B12 or placebo is given to women from early pregnancy, not later than week 15, until 6 months after birth. Weekly visits are conducted in order to record compliance, growth and morbidity. The primary outcomes are scores on the cognitive, language and motor subscales of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition, measured at 6 and 12 months of age, and growth (length and weight) measured at 6 and 12 months of age. Ethics and dissemination National Health and Research Council, Nepal (NHRC 253/2016) and Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics of Western Norway (2016/1620/REK vest) have approved the study. Investigators who have contributed to the conceptualising, conducting, as well as being involved in the data analyses and manuscript writing will be eligible for authorship and be responsible to share outcomes with different stakeholders through publications and workshops. The results from this study may support new dietary guidelines for Nepalese and possibly South Asian pregnant women that can lead to improved pregnancy outcomes, neurodevelopment and cognitive functioning in children. Trial registration number Universal Trial Number: U1111-1183-4093. Trial registration: clinicaltrials. gov: NCT03071666. Protocol date: version 1.2, 1 June 2017.
Background: Improving breastfeeding rates is critical. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), only subtle improvements in breastfeeding rates have been observed over the past decade, which highlights the need for accelerating breastfeeding promotion interventions.
Objective: The objective of this article is to update evidence on the effect of interventions on early initiation of and exclusive (<1 and 1–5 mo) and continued (6–23 mo) breastfeeding rates in LMICs when delivered in health systems, in the home or in community environments, or in a combination of settings.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Cochrane, and CABI databases to identify new articles relevant to our current review, which were published after the search date of our earlier meta-analysis (October 2014). Nine new articles were found to be relevant and were included, in addition to the other 52 studies that were identified in our earlier meta-analysis. We reported the pooled ORs and corresponding 95% CIs as our outcome estimates. In cases of high heterogeneity, random-effects models were used and causes were explored by subgroup analysis and meta-regression.
Results: Early initiation of and exclusive (<1 and 1–5 mo) and continued (6–23 mo) breastfeeding rates in LMICs improved significantly as a result of interventions delivered in health systems, in the home or community, or a combination of these. Interventions delivered concurrently in a combination of settings were found to show the largest improvements in desired breastfeeding outcomes. Counseling provided in any setting and baby-friendly support in health systems appear to be the most effective interventions to improve breastfeeding.
Conclusions: Improvements in breastfeeding practices are possible in LMICs with judicious use of tested interventions, particularly when delivered in a combination of settings concurrently. The findings can be considered for inclusion in the Lives Saved Tool model.