Azithromycin-containing intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy affects gestational weight gain, an important predictor of birthweight in Papua New Guinea - an exploratory analysis
In Papua New Guinea, intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and azithromycin (SPAZ-IPTp) increased birthweight despite limited impact on malaria and sexually transmitted infections. To explore possible nutrition-related mechanisms, we evaluated associations between gestational weight gain (GWG), enrolment body mass index (BMI) and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), and birthweight. We investigated whether the increase in birthweight associated with SPAZ-IPTp may partly be driven by a treatment effect on GWG. The mean GWG rate was 393 g/week (SD 250; n = 948). A 100 g/week increase in GWG was associated with a 14 g (95% CI 2.6, 25.4) increase in birthweight (P = 0.016). Enrolment BMI and MUAC also positively correlated with birthweight. SPAZ-IPTp was associated with increased GWG [58 g/week (26, 900), P < 0.001, n = 948] and with increased birthweight [48 g, 95% CI (8, 880), P = 0.019] when all eligible women were considered (n = 1947). Inclusion of GWG reduced the birthweight coefficient associated with SPAZ-IPTp by 18% from 44 to 36 g (n = 948), although SPAZ-IPTp was not significantly associated with birthweight among women for whom GWG data were available (P = 0.13, n = 948). One month post-partum, fewer women who had received SPAZ-IPTp had a low post-partum BMI (<18.5 kg m(-2) ) [adjusted risk ratio: 0.55 (95% CI 0.36, 0.82), P = 0.004] and their babies had a reduced risk of wasting [risk ratio 0.39 (95% CI 0.21, 0.72), P = 0.003]. SPAZ-IPTp increased GWG, which could explain its impact on birthweight and maternal post-partum BMI. Future trials of SPAZ-IPTp must incorporate detailed anthropometric evaluations to investigate mechanisms of effects on maternal and child health.