oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Assessment of nutritional status in pregnancy: use of a reference table of weight-for-height

Volume 31, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The nutritional status of women during pregnancy is critically important, in terms of outcome of pregnancy (i.e. birth weight) and the subsequent morbidity and mortality. Maternal size reflects nutritional status during pregnancy. and an improvement in maternal diet favourably influences both foetal growth and development progress after birth This effect is most profound when the maternal diet is chronically and seriously deficient in protein or energy. In such instances, supplementation appears to contribute to a better maternal weight gain, more desirable birthweight and improved perinatal survival. The importance of assessing the nutritional status of pregnant women can, therefore, not be over-emphasised. Several methods of assessment of nutritional status of the woman during pregnancy, are available, e.g. her nutrient intake, weight gain and the infant birth weight However, these methods all have their serious short-falls or limitations. Available evidence suggests that the simplest way of assessing the nutritional status of the pregnant woman would be by knowing the pre-pregnant weight, the height (which reflects the maternal nutrition during the growing years) and weight increase.The purpose of this study was to test a reference table of weight-for-height with data obtained in Zimbabwe, with a view to recommending it as a method of nutritional surveillance for pregnant women in Zimbabwe. This reference table was developed by Gueri et al.

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