Nutritional Care in Pregnancy

Women who are undernourished prior to or during pregnancy face this nutritionally-demanding life stage with disadvantages such as small stature and poor micronutrient status. These factors increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, with serious implications for the health and survival of mothers and babies. Children of undernourished mothers may be born underweight, putting them at higher risk of acute infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and physical and cognitive impairments. Maternal mortality due to postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia can be prevented with micronutrient supplementation.

To help ensure healthy pregnancies and good birth outcomes, our group studies key behaviors related to both provision and utilization of antenatal care (ANC). We assess the quality of ANC in limited resource settings and the potential benefits of strengthening health systems to deliver quality care. We also investigate women’s perceptions of ANC and factors that influence access to and utilization of ANC and adherence to prenatal nutritional supplements. Other preventive strategies developed and studied by the group include community-based delivery of health and nutrition education in pregnancy, and behavior change communication and social support strategies for promoting nutritional care in pregnancy.

Projects

MICa Prenatal Calcium Supplementation: Implementation research on prenatal micronutrient supplementation to prevent preeclampsia and anemia (completed)

Mycotoxins & Birth Outcomes: Mycotoxin Exposure in Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes (current)

Mycotoxins & Child Growth: Exploring potential causal link between mycotoxins, gut dysfunction and stunting in young children (current)

Mycotoxin Mitigation & Stunting: A Planning Grant for Trial of Mycotoxin Mitigation and Stunting in the First 1000 Days (current)

People

Katherine L. DickinRebecca Stoltzfus, Gina ChapleauStephanie MartinLaura Smith, Erica Philips

Resources

Resources for Health Workers

A Trainer’s Guide for Healthcare Providers and Community Health Workers: Training materials on calcium and iron-folic acid supplementation for pregnant women.

Community Health Worker Job Aids from Kenya: Calcium and Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation Behavior Change Materials.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Prevention of pre-eclampsia FAQ: Calcium supplementation in pregnancy for prevention of pre-eclampsia

Experiences with prenatal IFA supplementation FAQGuidance for prenatal calcium supplementation programming based on experiences with iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation