Inadequate dietary practices during pregnancy contribute to poor maternal energy and micronutrient intake, which can result in intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight. Moreover, maternal overweight and obesity, which are rising in many countries, are associated with maternal morbidity, preterm birth, and infant mortality. MCSP focuses on addressing barriers to optimal MIYCN practices, including the consumption of low nutritive foods during pregnancy and postpartum, and examines how maternal dietary practices are addressed at the country level.
We are continuing work begun under USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program to incorporate maternal nutrition services with infant and young child counseling and family planning (FP). Such integration maximizes routine health contacts, providing information and services for mothers and children to prevent anemia, stunting and overweight, while ensuring adequate timing and spacing of pregnancies. Under MCHIP, maternal and young child nutrition and FP behavior change messages were integrated into materials for use during home visits by community health workers and facility-based counseling.