Effect of Sodium Carbonate (Potash) On the Birth Weight of Albino Rat Pups

Bedan Ishaya Helga, Nicholas Ojo, Martha Orendu Attah


Background: Potash (sodium carbonate) is a lake salt that is white in appearance and may be found in form of powder or granules. In Africa, especially in Northern Nigeria, it is the second most popularly used salt, especially by pregnant women in their second trimesters in an attempt to reduce the weight of their babies to ensure an easier vaginal delivery. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of potash when consumed by maternal rat during its gestation period on the birth weight of pups.

Material and methods: Twenty four (24) pregnant female rats were grouped into four of six (6) rats each. Three experimental groups (E1-3) were administered 200,400 and 800mg/kg body weight which was equivalent to 0.34ml, 0.68ml and 1.236ml respectively per day of stock solution of potash via orogastric intubation from the first day of conception till term, the forth group served as control (C), and received distilled water at equivalent dosage level with the experimental group three (E3).

The six pregnant rats in each group were allowed to undergo spontaneous vaginal delivery and themean corresponding birth weight of litter in each experimental group was statistically analyzed and compared with that of the control group where p>0.05 was considered not significant at concentration up to 400mg/kg but at a dosage of 800mg/kg, P<0.001 was considered highly significant

Findings: Statistical analysis of birth weight in each group showed that the P value of individual group is not significant. The birth weight of control group was compared with each experimental group and the result obtained from statistical analysis revealed that at 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight, P>0.05 was considered not significant. It may be concluded that potash does not affect litter birth weight at concentration of up to 400mg/kg body weight

Conclusion: Consumption of potash especially in large quantity led to a reduction in birth weight in albino rats probably due to the fact that increased sodium administration leads to increased calcium excretion.

Keywords: Albino rats, Birth weight, Cervical plug test, Rat pup and Potash.

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DOI Prefix: 10.20286