Maternal nutritional status during pregnancy and infant immune response to routine childhood vaccinations


To systematically review the association between maternal nutritional status in pregnancy and infant immune response to childhood vaccines. We reviewed literature on maternal nutrition during pregnancy, fetal immune system and vaccines and possible relationships. Thereafter, we undertook a systematic review of the literature of maternal nutritional status and infant vaccine response, extracted relevant information, assessed quality of the nine papers identified and present findings in a narrative format. From limited evidence of average quality, intrauterine nutrition deficiency could lead to functional deficit in the infant’s immune function; child vaccine response may thus be negatively affected by maternal malnutrition. Response to childhood vaccination may be associated with fetal and early life environment; evaluation of programs should take this into account.

Routine childhood vaccination prevents many child deaths and has contributed substantially to improvements in survival up until, at least, the age of 5 years [1]. However, routine childhood vaccination programs do not reach all children [2], and concern has been expressed that even where children receive vaccines, some may not be fully protected and may still be at risk of infectious disease [3–6].

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