Effects of malnutrition in pregnant women
Hassam Ishtiaq*, Hira Iftikhar, Akhtar Ali, Tahir Ahmad and Umar Ali Amjad
*National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
Malnutrition is a major issue in developing and developed countries around the world due to under nutrition and overweight problems respectively. 39% of world population is facing the overweight problem and being obese during pregnancy can have a major impact on female and baby health. Being obese during pregnancy increases the risk of various complications for female including: Gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, overdue pregnancy, labour problems, pregnancy loss, etc. Complications may arise in newborns due to obese mother including: Macrosomia, chronic conditions and birth defects. Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, thus forcing people to make the healthier choice of foods and regular physical exercise to control overweight problems. In Pakistan, especially in Thar, large numbers of deaths are reported every year due to malnutrition. Thar communities, particularly women, lack awareness of their health concerns. An underweight woman has a high risk of having a low birth weight infant, especially if she is not taking adequate diet during child bearing age as pregnancy requirement of micro and macro nutrients is higher. Malnutrition prior to conception prevents the placenta from developing completely. A poorly developed placenta cannot deliver optimum nourishment to the foetus, and the born infant will be small and with possible physical and cognitive abnormalities. Malnutrition, coupled with low birth weight, is a major factor in more than half of all deaths of children under four years of age worldwide. An underweight woman improves her chances of having a healthy baby by gaining sufficient weight prior to conception or by gaining extra pounds during pregnancy. To gain weight and ensure nutrient adequacy, an underweight woman can follow the dietary recommendations for pregnant women.