Midwives have advised women planning to get pregnant to eat food rich in vitamin A, calcium and Zinc to enable them have a smooth pregnancy and health after delivery.
National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) Midwives Chairperson Louisa Muteti said they are coming across expectant women with low haemoglobin levels which is risky for their pregnancies.
Vitamin A is found in greens, Zinc in maize and fruits while Calcium in cassava and milk, that are easily available but women are not aware of their value to pregnancy, she said.
“These nutrients are very important when one wants to get pregnant. Haemoglobin (Hb) should be between 12 grams per deciliter up to 18 but we usually find most expectant mothers with Hb below 12 and have to assist them in boosting it,” said Ms Muteti during the end of the midwives week at Kadongo grounds on Friday.
She noted that a low Hb results to loss of consciousness in mothers and even death after delivery as the less blood count they have, is also lost when they bleed during child birth.
“If we are to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths, nutrition is key. We encourage women to boost their Hb before they become pregnant, when expectant and also after delivery,” she added.
She further added that adequate Hb enables mothers who have given birth to become strong as their immunity is high and less prone to infections.
Ms Muteti warned mothers against taking micronutrients and tea at the same time, stressing that it blocks their absorption into the system and makes their body fail to get the nutrients it needs.
The Midwives chair urged women to seek regular clinical services for nutritional and family planning advice as well as screening of cancer and illnesses that are risky to pregnancies such as HIV and syphilis, so that they can be addressed in time.
She also advised women to drink clean water and observe high standards of hygiene to avoid infections.
“Cancer is affecting mothers and girls and they need to be screened regularly. Family planning is not about preventing pregnancies but getting children when they are needed,” added Ms Muteti.
Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) Nairobi midwifery trainer Margret Njoroge urged county governments to invest in training and hiring of more midwives stressing that, they are key in monitoring the health of expectant mothers and babies.
Ms Njoroge said that midwives monitor the health of expectant mothers and their babies, offer counselling and company as well as health advise crucial for smooth pregnancies and delivery.
Meanwhile, Ms Muteti urged family members to support their expectant relatives stressing that failure to do so makes such women get in depression which makes their pregnancies to also become at risk.
During the ceremony, women and adolescent girls also got free cancer and HIV screening services and general health check-ups by health providers at the beyond zero mobile clinic which pitched camp at the venue.