By Lilian Okoro
Lagos, Aug. 5, 2020 A medical practitioner, Dr Mashudat Adams, on Wednesday stressed the need for healthy meals during and after pregnancy to prevent malnutrition and undernutrition in mothers and babies.
Adams, a Managing Partner, MercyWay Medical Centre, Ejigbo in Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
She said that undernutrition during critical periods in development stage could lead to adverse health outcomes later in life.
The expert spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW).
The WBW, inaugurated in 1991, is celebrated annually from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 in over 120 countries across the globe, to promote breastfeeding as an effective practice and to engender mother and child well-being.
Adams said: “So, mothers should eat balanced and varied diet with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals.
“They should maintain normal weight prior to pregnancy, and healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be encouraged.
“After pregnancy, mothers should practice six months exclusive breastfeeding, no other solids or liquid foods should be given to the baby,” Adams advised.
She said exclusive breastfeeding would go a long way to end malnutrition or undernutrition among children, adding that malnutrition resulted from lack of exclusive breastfeeding.
The expert said that breast milk should be given to babies immediately they were born.
According to her, breast milk provides a right proportion of essential nutrients for baby’s body and brain development.
Adams said that the essential nutrients in the breast milk included vitamins, proteins, fats and antibodies.
She said that breastfed babies hardly fall sick, have a lower risk of obesity as well as types I and II diabetes.
The expert said that they also have a reduced risk for ear infections (otitis media) and gastroenteritis, among others.
“Exclusive breastfeeding protects against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, slow infant weight gain and lower risk of obesity.
“Feeding on colostrum is a health benefit that comes from breast milk, because it supplies the essential nutrients needed for baby’s cognitive development.
“Therefore, breast milk is a perfect food for infants; it is easy to digest, because it is made of live cells and the baby’s bodies can easily absorb it,” Adams said.