Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition - Feeding practices including micronutrient deficiencies prevention, control of wasting, stunting and underweight
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Home  »  Healthy Nutrition  »  About Essential Nutrition Actions  »  During Preconception and Pregnancy

About Essential Nutrition Actions at Critical Stages in the Life Cycle of Women and Children

Infant and young Child nutrition during and after illness

During the preconception period and pregnancy there is an enormous responsibility to eat well to ensure the safety and health of the unborn baby.

Key behaviours during preconception:

  1. Prevent Iron Deficiency anaemia through:
     
    • Eating foods rich in iron (natural or fortified).
       
    • De-worming using Mebendazole or Albendazole every six months.
       
    • Sleeping under an Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net in areas where malaria is widespread.
       
  2. Prevent birth defects such as spina bifida by eating foods rich in folic acid (natural or fortified).

Key behaviours during pregnancy:

  1. Eat one additional meal every day and eat a variety of foods.
     
  2. Prevent Iron Deficiency anaemia through:
     
    • Daily intake of one Iron-folic acid tablet for six months during pregnancy (meaning 30 tablets/month * 6 months = 180 tablets in total). The health worker should provide you with enough tablets to last for the next Ante-Natal Care visit.
       
    • Eating foods rich in iron (natural or fortified).
       
    • Sleeping under an Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net in areas where malaria is widespread.
       
    • Based on the national Ante-Natal Care Policy, receiving 2 doses of malaria Intermittent Preventive Treatment (1st dose: 3 tablets SP during 4th to 6th months of pregnancy and 2nd dose: 3 tablets SP during 7th to 9th months of pregnancy) in areas where malaria is widespread.
       
    • De-worming using Mebendazole or Albendazole (1st dose during 4th to 6th months of pregnancy and 2nd dose during 7th to 9th months of pregnancy). Do not take de-worming tablets during the first three months of pregnancy.
       
  3. Eat foods rich in Vitamin A (natural or fortified) but do not take Vitamin A supplements as this may cause birth defects in your unborn baby.
     
  4. Use iodized salt.
     
  5. Reduce your workload. This means that your husband, family and employers should be supportive.
     
  6. Ensure good personal hygiene and safe food preparation including washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly with drinkable water (protected sources, boiled or purified). Toxoplasmosis can be carried on unwashed fruits / vegetables or undercooked meat so make sure the produce is washed and the meat well done.
     
  7. Visit the Ante-Natal Clinic at least four times and take care to go for HIV counselling and Testing.
     
  8. Avoid the following foods: chilled meals, raw eggs and soft-boiled eggs (because of salmonella), peanuts, liver, coffee and alcohol, overheated cooking oil and charred / barbecued foods.
     
  9. Try not to binge too much on a single food as the children can be born allergic to substances their mothers ate frequently during pregnancy. Peanuts appear to be a common cause of this.
     
  10. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, seeds and nuts (not peanuts) and brown rice.
     
  11. Drink plenty of safe water (from protected source, boiled or purified), herbal teas and tisanas.


6 March, 2016
 


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