African AmericanWomen and Their Pregnancies
Nutrition, Genital Tract Infection, HÃ©matologie Values, and
Premature Rupture of Membranes Among African
OÃœIDAE. WESTNEY,2 LENNOX
ENID M. KNIGHT,**
HAZEL B. HIZA**
S. WESTNEY,* ALLAN
College of Allied Health Sciences;
Columbia General Hospital and Howard
of Human Deuelopment,
College of Medicine;
of Education; *Department
tttD/siriciProgram Project; ^Howard
ABSTRACT using a prospective comparative design,
African American gravidae with and without genital
tract infection were assessed with respect to dietary
intakes, serum nutrient values, hÃ©matologie values, and
pregnancy outcomes. Intakes of ascorbic acid, vitamin
A, protein, and iron were the dietary variables while
levels of ascorbic acid, protein, albumin, globulin, and
ferritin were the variables measured in serum. The hÃ©
matologie variables included hemoglobin, hematocrit,
and red and white bloodcellcounts. Pregnancy outcome
was defined on the basis of premature rupture of the
membranes (PROM), and infant birth weight, birth
length, gestational age, and head circumference. The
sample consisted of 335 nulliparous women who were
between 16-35 years of age, 96 of whom had genital
tract infection based on laboratory reports. Findings in
dicated no significant differences between the mean di
etary intakes as well as serum values of the infected
and non-infected women, and no difference in the inci
dence of PROM. However, non-infected women had a
better mean hÃ©matologie profile than the infected grav
idae during pregnancy. Also, forthe non-infected group,
there were significant relationships between head cir
cumference and protein consumption (P = .015) and
serum ferritin (P = .02). For the infected women, the
relationship between the hemoglobin and hematocrit
measurements obtained at the first prenatal visit and
infant birth weight, birth length and head circumference
were statistically significant. J. Nutr. 124:987S-993S,
INDEXING KEY WORDS:
â€¢ African American
cans are frequent
nant women. G. vaginalis
1990) and almost in all women
initis. T. vaginalis
and 25% of pregnant
et al. 1985).
Neisseria gonorrhea, Chlamydia
infections to premature
of the vagina,
as well as the nonpregnant
may reside asymptomatically
in the genital tract.
residentsof the genital tract of preg
in 40% of vaginal
(Sweet and Gibbs
and C. albicans
include group B Streptococci,
1983, Sweet and Gibbs 1990). There
regarding the linkage
a grant in 1985 to the Department
School of Human
Tapes of the data are available at cost by sending a written
to the Guest Editor at the above address. Supported by Grant 3 POI
2Correspondenceshould be addressed to: 13601 Creekside Drive,
Silver Spring, Maryland20904.
reported in this paper were made as part of
project "Nutrition, Other Factors, and the Outcome
supported by the National Institute
of Human Nutrition
Ecology, Howard University.
volume to The Journal of Nutrition
of NutritionalSciences, College of Allied
of Child Health
of Health, through
Guest Editor for
was Cecile H.
0022-3166/94 $3.00 Â© 1994 American Institute of Nutrition.
by guest on July 14, 2011
NUTRITION AND GENITAL TRACT INFECTION
moglobin and hematocrit values are among the im
portant predictors of infant outcomes. To generalize
from these findings, it may be that the better the initial
state of health of the infected woman, in terms of her
hÃ©matologie status, the better the pregnancy outcome.
Also, for hematocrit values during the third trimester
and at delivery, the data indicated that genital tract
infection is associated with abnormally low level RBC
counts, and often with abnormally high WBC counts,
even at delivery, in spite of earlier medicinal inter
potheses 1, 2, 4 and 5 were not accepted since there
were no mean significant differences between the in
fected and the non-infected groups with respect to:
dietary nutrient values, serum nutrient values, infant
outcomemeasures, and the frequency
among the groups. Hypothesis 3 which dealt with hÃ©
matologie values was accepted partially. Although the
hemoglobin and hematocrit values were consistently
greater for the non-infected group and the WBC con
sistently lower for the non-infected group these mean
values did not reach significance. Only the difference
in RBC count for the third trimester was significant
for the non-infected group. Hypothesis 6 also was ac
cepted partially. For the infected group, there were
significant correlations between hemoglobin and he
matocrit measures done at the first prenatal visit and
pregnancy outcomes. Also, low levels of RBC were
found to be associated with genital tract infection.
The positive relationships between maternal protein
intake during pregnancy and infant head circumfer
ence as well as between maternal serum ferritin values
at delivery and infant head circumference among the
non-infected women are noted. With respect to the
dietary protein intake, the finding provides validation
for the teaching of gravidae to include adequate pro
tein in their diets.
to the hypotheses of the study, hy
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