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Define Maternal Nutrition and Foetal Outcome?
Maternal malnutrition has deleterious effects on both the mother and the offspring. Inadequate energy intakes, iron deficiency and strenuous physical work all contribute to poor weight gain in the mother, increased morbidities and in severe cases, resulting in increased maternal mortality. The effects of malnutrition in women including during pregnancy have been covered in the previous unit on women and nutrition. 'His focus in this section is on the foetal outcome in terms of birth weight.
A large number of studies done specially in the developing countries have shown that material malnutrition seriously impairs foetal outcome. The birth weight and gestational duration are adversely affected while pregnancy complications such as still birth are increased in maternal malnutrition. Therefore, it is crucial to improve maternal nutrition status in order to improve the foetal outcome. In this section, the relationship between several parameters of maternal nutrition and foetal outcome are discussed, so that we have a good knowledge of the priority actions at the individual and at a public health level to improve the foetal outcomes.
The World Health Organization, on the basis of world wide data, has recommended that a full term baby with birth weight less than 2.5 kg may be considered a low birth weight (LBW) infant canying relatively higher risks of sub standard growth and development and higher risk of perinatal and neonatal mortality. Low birth weight in full term infants is chiefly attributable to poor maternal nutrition and health. The postnatal growth and development of the LBW infants is poorer than normal weight infants. More recently, the concern has been raised that the LBW infants may become more prone to chronic degenerative diseases later as adults.
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