Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Agricultural Education and Communication


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Peggy Papathakis

Advisor Department

Agricultural Education and Communication

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences



Assessment of the Effects of Malaria and Anemia in Pregnant Malawian Women Before and After Treatment of Moderate Malnutrition

William Shipley

Background: Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) can lead to adverse maternal and infant outcomes and possibly further complications. Supplementary foods or treatments with high quality nutrients should be administered to those with MAM in hopes to increase the chance of healthy maternal and infant outcomes. Sometimes supplementary food is not enough to overcome MAM and disease may play a role, particularly in pregnant malnourished women.

Objective: To determine if the effects of malaria and anemia moderated the effect of nutritional treatments (one of the three given nutritional interventions) used to improve malnutrition and achieve a MUAC ≥ 23 cm during study participation. Additionally, this research serves to assess whether the relationship between malaria and anemia is associated with malnutrition status.

Methods: Women were given a dose of IPTp at each antenatal visit between zero and four total IPTp doses. Infant anthropometrics – length, weight, head circumference, and MUAC were taken at birth, 6 weeks, and 3 months. Maternal hemoglobin levels were assessed at enrollment and after 10 weeks of enrollment as well as infant hemoglobin at 3 months. Anemia was defined by a hemoglobin less than 11.0 g/dL. Mild anemia was defined as hemoglobin greater than 7.0 but less than 9.9 g/dL and moderate anemia was defined by hemoglobin values 9.9 or greater but less than 11.0 g/dL. Analysis was completed using ANOVA, and if any significant differences were observed, they were compared via Tukey HSD (continuous) or Chi-squared test (categorical).

Results: Total number of IPTp doses was found to be a more statistically significant predictor of maternal weight gain during treatment than timing of the doses. It stands to reason that women receiving three or more IPTp doses was the most beneficial for women during treatment as it saw the highest increases in maternal weight gain. At baseline, women that achieved a MUAC > 23 cm during the study was 32.0% (n = 1805). The greatest proportion of women, after adjustment, that achieved a MUAC ≥ 23 cm was seen in women receiving four (47.3 %) and three (37.8 %) total IPTp doses during pregnancy. Maternal weight gain correlated closely with hemoglobin at enrollment (p-value = 0.0111). Total number of IPTp doses received during pregnancy was not found to have a statistical effect on infant hemoglobin or anemia at three months. Infant length at six weeks was higher in infants from mothers that received two or three IPTp doses compared to mothers that received one IPTp dose (p-value = 0.0218). A p-value below 0.05 by total number of IPTp doses was observed for infant weight, head circumference, and MUAC at birth, six weeks, and three months.

Conclusion: At least three IPTp was effective in improving maternal weight gain and achievement of MUAC > 23 cm as well as improved many infant outcomes. Hemoglobin at enrollment was a predictor of maternal weight gain during tx but was not associated with any other outcomes.