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WHO Recommendations on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience


Date Published: 
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Cover of WHO Recommendations on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience

This WHO report provides recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. The interventions are categorized into five areas:

  1. Nutritional interventions
  2. Maternal and fetal assessment
  3. Preventive measures
  4. Interventions for common physiological problems and
  5. Health systems interventions to improve the utilization and quality of ante-natal care.

Highlights include:

  1. Antenatal care model moving from the current minimum of four contacts (or 4 ANC visits) to a minimum of eight contacts to reduce perinatal mortality and improve women’s experience of care. This calls for a complete review of service delivery models in Kenya as we have struggled over the years to manage the four contacts.
  2. Counseling about healthy eating and keeping physically active during pregnancy.
  3. Daily oral iron and folic acid supplementation (commonly referred to as IFAS in Kenya) for pregnant women to prevent maternal anaemia, puerperal sepsis (after birth infections), low birth weight, and preterm birth.
  4. Tetanus toxoid vaccination is recommended for all pregnant women, depending on previous tetanus vaccination exposure, to prevent neonatal mortality from tetanus.
  5. One ultrasound scan before 24 weeks’ gestation (early ultrasound) is recommended for pregnant women to estimate gestational age, improve detection of foetal anomalies and multiple pregnancies, reduce induction of labor for post-term pregnancy, and improve a woman’s pregnancy experience. Some Kenyan county hospitals already have this service provided by nurses and clinical officers in task shifting arrangements.
  6. Health-care providers should ask all pregnant women about their use of alcohol and other substances (past and present) as early as possible in the pregnancy and at every antenatal visit.
  7. The use of multiple micronutrients (generally referred to as multi-vitamins) is no longer recommended in pregnancy.

The University Research Co., LLC's  ASSIST Kenya Project  has one process indicator that looks at the minimum package of interventions that a woman is expected to receive in her first ANC contact.

These highlights were provided by TRAction's ASSIST Project.



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