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Extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS) and Azadirachta indica (AI) are widely used in Nigeria for medicinal purposes and have also been shown to affect weight changes anecdotally through mechanisms not yet defined. There are reports of decreased food consumption and weight gain in rats consuming HS extracts as the drinking solutions but there is paucity of data on the effect of these two extracts, administered by gavage, on weight changes during pregnancy and lactation. This study was therefore designed to investigate this in relation to food and fluid intake. 40 pregnant rats weighing 150-200 g were used for this study. They were divided into three groups: control, HS and AI groups. HS and AI groups were subdivided into two subgroups of low and high doses. Extract administration was orally by gavage and commenced on day 1 of pregnancy and ended on postnatal day 21. Food and fluid consumption were monitored throughout pregnancy and lactation. The results showed that the aqueous extract of HS and AI increased consumption of food and fluid during pregnancy and lactation, increased maternal weight gain during pregnancy and lactation. From the results of the present study, it can be concluded that consumption of aqueous extracts of HS and AI during pregnancy and lactation increased fluid and food intake and weight gain of dams with a possible potential to accelerate weight loss or decrease postpartum weight retention during lactation.
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