Sep 7, 2010


Mother's Nutrition

  • Sep 7, 2010
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  • A women's nutritional status before and during pregnancy and then when she is breastfeeding her baby is crucial for a healthy mother and a healthy baby.

    Good health outcomes for a mother and her baby depend on good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, adequate weight gain and good prenatal care.  

    During pregnancy a number of changes occur in a woman's body to help her maintain a healthy environment for the growing baby without compromising the mother's health. Many of these changes begin in the early weeks of pregnancy and promote baby's growth and well being and prepare the mother for labor, birth and lactation.


    Pregnant women should be encouraged to eat all types of foods that are available in their community despite commonly held beliefs that pregnant women are not able to eat certain foods. There are no restrictions or taboos around the type of food she should or should not eat. Health care providers should advise and counsel women: 
    1. To have at least on extra meal everyday during her pregnancy 
    2. To eat small frequent meals as it is sometimes uncomfortable to eat a large meal at one sitting 
    3. That the meals should include a greater amount and variety of locally available foods such as meat, fish, oil, nuts, seeds, bean curd, beans, tofu, vegetables etc.
    4. Foods high in iron (meat, liver, beans, chicken, tofu) and folic acid (green leafy vegetables, fruits) should be increased. 
    5. That if salt is used while cooking, it should be iodized
    6. That there are no taboos about any kind of food during pregnancy except raw meat or raw shellfish which should not be eaten by anyone. Cooked meat and cooked shellfish can be eaten. Raw vegetables and fruits are safe if washed well.
    7.  To drink plenty of safe water or other fluids (except alcohol)
    8. To avoid very hard physical work. Leave this to other whilst pregnant and lactating.
    Encourage other key family members like grandmothers, aunts, elder sisters to make sure that the woman eats enough throughout the day.

    "A good variety of food, even if they are small meals, will help the woman feel well and strong and also help her baby to grow healthy and strong." 

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