n African Renaissance - Promoting maternal wellness and survival in the Gambia through nutrition and exercise

Volume 13, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


Pregnancy-related mortality is an enormous topic that others have studied comprehensively and widely. Despite this, the contribution of nutrition and exercise to maternal wellness and survival has not been addressed systematically. Nutrition, antenatal exercise and maternal health practice are often not effectively integrated. However, malnutrition in pregnancy can lead to increased risk of death, complications, susceptibility to infection, reduced activity levels, and lower productivity. The health benefits of regular physical exercise in pregnancy include maintenance and improvement of physical fitness and cardiovascular endurance, prevention of excessive gestational weight gain and glucose intolerance, conditioning of the muscles needed to facilitate labor and improvement in psychological adjustment to changes in pregnancy. Nonetheless, most of the causes of maternal morbidity and mortality in the Gambia such as anaemia, haemorrhage, prolong labor and eclampsia has some degree of association with the status of maternal nutrition and level of physical activity. Under-nutrition and obesity among women co-exist as major nutritional problems in the Gambia. The Gambian culture plays a major role in limiting exercise during pregnancy. Despites all the efforts on nutritional supplementation during pregnancy, malnutrition and lack of exercise is still a major problem affecting the health of pregnant women in this country. Therefore maternal health programs in the Gambia should alert pregnant women of the need to adjust their nutritional and physical exercise levels in order to achieve and maintain a desirable nutritional status and weight for their own health as well as for better birth outcomes.

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