Fluoride Action Network


Anaemia in pregnancy and low birth weight babies, a serious public health problem, troubles India and several other nations. This article reports the results of a approach to address the issue. Women up to 20 week pregnancy with haemoglobin (Hb) 9.0 g/dl or less, those with urinary fluoride beyond 1.0 mg/l and not suffering from any other ailments, were selected. Out of the 205 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics (ANCs) during 1st and 2nd trimesters, the sample and control groups were selected through computerized random sampling procedure. Ninety pregnant women formed the sample group and 115 formed the control group. The sample group was introduced to two interventions, viz.: (1) removal of fluoride from ingestion through drinking water, food and other sources, (2) counselling based intake of essential nutrients, viz. calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamins C, E and other antioxidants through dairy products, vegetables and fruits. No intervention was introduced for the control group. Sample and control groups were monitored for urinary fluoride and Hb until delivery during their visits to ANC. Birth weight of the babies were recorded from the labour room register. Results reveal that (1) the urine fluoride levels decreased in 67% and 53% of the pregnant women respectively, who attended ANCs during 1st and 2nd trimester of pregnancy. (2) An increase in Hb upon withdrawal of fluoride followed by nutritional intervention in 73% and 83% respectively has also been recorded. (3) Body mass index (BMI) also enhanced. (4) The percentage of pre-term deliveries was decreased in sample group compared to control. (5) Birth weight of babies enhanced in 80% and 77% in sample group women who attended ANC in 1st and 2nd trimester respectively as opposed to 49% and 47% respectively in the control group. (6) The number of low birth weight babies was reduced to 20% and 23% respectively in sample as opposed to 51% and 53% in control groups.