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external supervisor

Charles Opondo, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine


Gestational weight gain (GWG) and anaemia in pregnancy are important indicators of maternal nutrition that are directly related to pregnancy outcomes. Inappropriate GWG (either below or above the 2009 United States Institute of Medicine guidelines) is known to be associated with higher risks for gestational diabetes mellitus, emergency caesarean section, preterm birth and small- or large-for-gestational-age offspring. However, these findings were primarily obtained from Western and East Asian studies, leaving a paucity of data in the Indian population. Around 36% of all pregnant women, globally have anaemia, but the burden is higher in India affecting >55% of the pregnant women. There are studies that have shown anaemia (measured using haemoglobin) in pregnancy to be associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. However, it is important to understand if and how change in haemoglobin levels between first and third trimester affects outcomes, particularly in the context of India where free routine iron-folic acid supplementation is provided to all pregnant women for 100 days starting at second trimester of pregnancy. The research objectives are to:

  1. Conduct a systematic review of effects of GWG in pregnancy on maternal and fetal outcomes.
  2. Develop a measure of GWG in pregnancy relevant to the Indian population using data from >10,000 pregnant women from the Maternal and perinatal Health Research collaboration, India (MaatHRI).
  3. Examine the effect of GWG on maternal and fetal outcomes using the MaatHRI data.
  4. Develop a measure of change in haemoglobin between first and third trimesters relevant to the Indian population using the MaatHRI data.
  5. Examine the effect of change in haemoglobin on maternal and fetal outcomes using the MaatHRI data.


Training in advanced statistics, epidemiological methods, and scientific writing will be provided. Attendance at seminars, workshops and courses provided by the Department and University will also be encouraged. There will be opportunity to present research work at relevant international/national conferences, and publish some papers from the research.

field work, secondments, industry placements and training

Not applicable.

prospective student

The ideal candidate will have a Masters degree in a relevant area (e.g. statistics/epidemiology/public health/ population health). Experience or interest in the field of maternal and child health in low- and middle-income country settings is desirable.