|Abstract||This is the story of an idea. This is the account of its journey from birth to the delivery of new hypotheses. Reproduction, birth, but also death, are indeed at the heart of this research in which we assessed, in Burkina Faso, the health benefits of providing pregnant women with multiple micronutrients. The main expected outcome of such intervention was the prevention of intrauterine growth retardation, a strong predictor of mortality and morbidity during childhood and of lifelong ill health.
This is also the story of how fast science can progress nowadays. It was in 1999 that the UNICEF/WHO/UN University proposed that a prenatal supplement containing one RDA of 15 micronutrients (UNIMMAP) could potentially replace standard iron-folate supplements (IFA) for pregnant women in low and middle income countries. Less than a decade later, high-quality studies comparing UNIMMAP to IFA had been carried out in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, and Niger, and we know much better today what benefits UNIMMAP can, and cannot, provide. This thesis was an important component of that fast-growing evidence.|