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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Global Health Research InstituteResearch

The Mumbai Maternal Nutrition Project

The Role of food based approaches to improve preconception nutrition and birth outcomes

A meeting where the researchers explain the study to the community
A meeting where the researchers explainedthe study to the community

How the project works

Researchers Dr Sarah Kehoe and Professor Caroline Fall, led teams that carried out a randomised controlled trial using green leafy vegetables, fruit and milk to improve women’s diet quality for a sustained period (at least 3 months) before conception in order to improve fetal development and long-term health outcomes.

It is important to reach women before they have conceived as dietary supplements started during pregnancy appear to have little long-term effect. The trial followed the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) perspective, recognising the  need to cover:


Why food?

Pregnancy is not a sickness and there are many reasons why food was used for example, greater acceptability and sustainability of nutrition from food and equipoise about which micronutrients are important.

Engaging the community

Health workers visited women at home, held community meetings, performed street plays to demonstrate what they were trying to do and gave , slide shows to explain the trial. By these means they recruited 6513 married non-pregnant women aged between 15 and -40 who were planning further children and delivery in Mumbai.

The children born are followed up at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months and every birthday to monitor growth, feeding and any illness
green leafy vegetables being prepared
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