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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 185672, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neq034
Original Article

Evaluating the Impact of a Pragmatic Nutrition Awareness Program for Expectant Mothers upon Birth Weight of the Newborn

1Department of Kaya Chikitsa, State Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Tulsi Das Marg, Lucknow 226004, India
2Department of Obstetrics, Vatsala Hospital, Lucknow, India
3Indulgence Food (Pvt.) Ltd, Nagpur, India
4Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, New Delhi, India
5Department of Community Medicine, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
6UCLA School of Dentistry, Division of Oral Biology and Medicine and Associated Clinical Specialties, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Received 30 December 2009; Accepted 15 March 2010

Copyright © 2011 Sanjeev Rastogi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Poor maternal nutritional status and substandard antenatal care, which result in increased women's risk, low birth weight and stillbirth, afflict many countries with weak or emerging economies even today. Studies that address the effect of extending nutrition awareness among pregnant women to the net outcome of pregnancy remain scarce. We aimed to compare and contrast the effect of a pragmatic nutrition awareness program for expectant mothers (NAPEM) on birth weight of the newborn with a control group who received no such nutrition awareness activity. The effect of variables of mode of newborn delivery, associated complications at birth, and APGAR score of the newborn were also assessed. A pragmatic intervention trial of an antenatal care (ANC) program that consisted in nutrition awareness was conducted involving 53 pregnant women. Awareness was given through one-to-one interview and through informational literature provided to the participants in the local language. A hospital registry for deliveries undertaken during the study period was screened for identification of variables. A control group of matched pregnant women (n = 53) was obtained from the same hospital registry from preceding years, when the nutrition awareness program was not executed. A statistically significant improvement in birth weight of the newborn was observed in the intervention group, where expectant mothers were made aware about desired nutrition during pregnancy. A reduced incidence of complications associated with pregnancy was also observed in the intervention group. Providing awareness about nutritional requirements during pregnancy and suggesting the pragmatic ways to meet them was shown to be one possible effective measure to deal with pregnancy-related undernutrition. We show the efficacy of the intervention for underprivileged regions of India marked by inadequate health care delivery and lower socio-economical standards. We discuss our findings in the context of available evidence-based guidelines.