Action - Nutrition International - India - Maternal Nutrition Program - Iron and folic acid supplementation - Pregnant women (PW)

Programme: Nutrition International - India - Maternal Nutrition Program

Programme description

Pregnancy and the postnatal period are critical times for ensuring the health and wellbeing of women and their children. Anaemia during pregnancy is common and can have serious consequences for both mother and child, including increased risk of low birthweight and preterm birth, as well as maternal and perinatal mortality.[1&2] Iron deficiency is a major cause of anaemia among pregnant women.[3] Iron requirements increase substantially during pregnancy and it is difficult to meet these needs with food alone. Based on evidence of reduced risk of anaemia, iron deficiency and other adverse outcomes including having a low birthweight baby, WHO recommends daily iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation throughout pregnancy, together with appropriate nutrition counselling.[4]  This is in addition to a series of other recommendations for nutrition interventions as part of antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience and other important maternal and child outcomes.[4]

Nutrition International works in collaboration with government and other partners to improve maternal nutrition through enhancing the provision, quality and integration of health and nutrition services and empowering women and their families to seek care and adopt healthy behaviours.   

Nutrition International contributes to improving Maternal Nutrition in India by:

  • Collaborating with state government in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to improve the coverage and consumption of IFA and calcium supplements among pregnant and lactating women. 
  • Supporting an enabling environment for implementing the National Iron Plus Initiative and the National Calcium Supplementation Guideline.
  • Providing technical assistance. 
  • Supporting procurement and supply chain strengthening.
  • Capacity-building of health care managers and service providers at facility and community levels, through training and mentoring/supportive supervision.
  • Developing and implementing a behavior change communication materials.
  • Supporting program monitoring and assessment, and use of this information to inform decision-making.

This work is in partnership with state government in Gujarat, Chhattisgrah and Madhya Pradesh and Gorakpur Environmental Action group (GEAG) and Centre for Integrated Development in MP, TRIOs Development Support Private Limited in Chhattisgarh, and Deepak Foundation in Gujarat. This project supports implementation in 9 districts in Gujarat, 9 districts in Chhattisgrah, and 8 districts in Madhya Pradesh. 

Programme type



  1. Allen, L. H. (2000). Anemia and iron deficiency: Effects on pregnancy outcome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,71(5). doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1280s
  2. Black, R. E., Victora, C. G., Walker, S. P., Bhutta, Z. A., Christian, P., Onis, M. D., . . . Uauy, R. (2013). Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet,382(9890), 427-451. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(13)60937-x
  3. WHO. The global prevalence of anaemia in 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015.
  4. WHO. (2016). WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. (Rep.). doi:

For more information:

Target group: 
Pregnant women (PW)

Revision log

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 14:57zillmerkpublishedpublished
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 14:47GINAadminNIpublishedneeds_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:48zillmerkpublishedpublished
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:49GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.needs_review
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 15:48GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.draft
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 16:18engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 13:20engesveenkEdited by engesveenk.delegated
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 21:39vhollaEdited by vholla.needs_review
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 19:36vhollaEdited by vholla.draft
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Thu, 09/27/2018 - 19:26vhollaAction created by vholla.draft