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Abstract

EFFECTS OF MATERNAL CONSUMPTION OF AQUEOUS LEAF EXTRACT OF AZADIRACHTA INDICA ON POSTNATAL WEIGHT GAIN AND NEONATAL MORTALITY IN ALBINO WISTAR RATS

*Obaji N. N, Iyare E.E, Ifegwu N.O, Ezejindu D.N and Uchefuna R.C

ABSTRACT

The present study was designed to investigate the effect of consumption of aqueous extract of Azadirachta indica during pregnancy on postnatal weight gain and neonatal mortality. Twenty female rats weighing between 150-200 g were used. On confirmation of pregnancy the rats were randomly grouped into four groups, I-IV of 5 rats each. Group I was the control group and received distilled water only. Groups II-IV were the test groups and received 200 mg, 400mg and 600 mg/kg body weight of the extract respectively. Rats in all groups had normal rat chow and water ad libitum. On the day of delivery, litter size and litter weight were recorded. This continued at seven days interval until postnatal day 56. Also, the neonatal mortality was determined at postnatal day 7. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the litter size in all the test groups when compared with the control. There was significant decrease (p<0.05) in postnatal weight gain from day 0 to postnatal day 56 in all the test groups when compared with the control group. Groups II and III showed no significant decrease (p>0.05) in neonatal mortality when compared with the control group. However, a highly significant decrease (p<0.01) in neonatal mortality was observed in group IV. It can be concluded that aqueous leaf extract of A. indica has the potential of reducing postnatal weight gain and increases neonatal mortality.

Keywords: Azadirachta indica, neonatal mortality, birth weight, postnatal weight gain, pregnancy.


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