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01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2012

An analysis of timing and frequency of malaria infection during pregnancy in relation to the risk of low birth weight, anaemia and perinatal mortality in Burkina Faso

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2012
Innocent Valea, Halidou Tinto, Maxime K Drabo, Lieven Huybregts, Hermann Sorgho, Jean-Bosco Ouedraogo, Robert T Guiguemde, Jean Pierre van Geertruyden, Patrick Kolsteren, Umberto D'Alessandro, the FSP/MISAME study Group
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

IV participated in study coordination and data cleaning, performed the data analysis and drafted the manuscript. HT participated in the design, study coordination and corrected the manuscript. MKD, HS and JPG corrected the manuscript. LH participated in data cleaning and corrected the manuscript. RTG and KP participated in the design of the study. UDA participated in the design, helped in data analysis and corrected the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



A prospective study aiming at assessing the effect of adding a third dose sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to the standard two-dose intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women was carried out in Hounde, Burkina Faso, between March 2006 and July 2008. Pregnant women were identified as earlier as possible during pregnancy through a network of home visitors, referred to the health facilities for inclusion and followed up until delivery.


Study participants were enrolled at antenatal care (ANC) visits and randomized to receive either two or three doses of SP at the appropriate time. Women were visited daily and a blood slide was collected when there was fever (body temperature > 37.5°C) or history of fever. Women were encouraged to attend ANC and deliver in the health centre, where the new-born was examined and weighed. The timing and frequency of malaria infection was analysed in relation to the risk of low birth weight, maternal anaemia and perinatal mortality.


Data on birth weight and haemoglobin were available for 1,034 women. The incidence of malaria infections was significantly lower in women having received three instead of two doses of SP. Occurrence of first malaria infection during the first or second trimester was associated with a higher risk of low birth weight: incidence rate ratios of 3.56 (p < 0.001) and 1.72 (p = 0.034), respectively. After adjusting for possible confounding factors, the risk remained significantly higher for the infection in the first trimester of pregnancy (adjusted incidence rate ratio = 2.07, p = 0.002). The risk of maternal anaemia and perinatal mortality was not associated with the timing of first malaria infection.


Malaria infection during first trimester of pregnancy is associated to a higher risk of low birth weight. Women should be encouraged to use long-lasting insecticidal nets before and throughout their pregnancy.
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