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Improving maternal nutrition for better pregnancy outcomes

  • N. M. Nnam (a1)


Much has been learned during the past several decades about the role of maternal nutrition in the outcome of pregnancy. While the bulk of the data is derived from animal models, human observations are gradually accumulating. There is need to improve maternal nutrition because of the high neonatal mortality rate especially in developing countries. The author used a conceptual framework which took both primary and secondary factors into account when interpreting study findings. Nutrition plays a vital role in reducing some of the health risks associated with pregnancy such as risk of fetal and infant mortality, intra-uterine growth retardation, low birth weight and premature births, decreased birth defects, cretinism, poor brain development and risk of infection. Adequate nutrition is essential for a woman throughout her life cycle to ensure proper development and prepare the reproductive life of the woman. Pregnant women require varied diets and increased nutrient intake to cope with the extra needs during pregnancy. Use of dietary supplements and fortified foods should be encouraged for pregnant women to ensure adequate supply of nutrients for both mother and foetus. The author concludes that nutrition education should be a core component of Mother and Child Health Clinics and every opportunity should be utilised to give nutrition education on appropriate diets for pregnant women.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author: N.M. Nnam, email


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