Interventions to Address Maternal Undernutrition

Speaker: U. Ramakrishnan Presented at: 78th Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop, Oman


In developing countries, a large proportion of women of reproductive age are affected by undernutrition. However, little attention has been paid to maternal undernutrition and the lasting consequences on maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Dr. Usha Ramakrishnan’s group evaluated the clinical effects of nutritional interventions on these outcomes. By grouping the interventions that were performed before, during or after pregnancy, Ramakrishnan presents their effects in both mothers and children. Some of the key parameters she used were intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), preterm birth (PTB), maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.In the case of iron, folic acid, iodine and calcium supplementation, there is already extensive data showing the clinical benefits. What is needed, however, it to deliver these to the right populations. Further research is needed for other promising strategies such as vitamin A and n-3 PUFA supplementation. Ramakrishnan ends by identifying the windows of opportunity for intervention to improve maternal nutrition and thereby ameliorate the health of the next generation.