Conclusion

Anemia contributes to 10% of maternal deaths in Asia and Africa. Antenatal iron supplementation needs to be heightened in many regions where the rates of maternal anemia are high. There is little evidence to suggest that anemia can increase the risk of PPH. Calcium supplementation in populations with low intakes of dietary calcium can reduce the risk of eclampsia and severe morbidity and mortality, although the optimal dosage remains unclear. Magnesium sulfate is an inexpensive means to prevent the risk of eclampsia among high-risk women with preeclampsia. However, in settings where home deliveries are common, it is unclear how management of preeclampsia with magnesium sulfate should be implemented. Maternal vitamin A supplementation reduced the risk of pregnancy-related mortality in one study; results of two other trials are awaited. Overall, there appears to be a role for nutrition interventions in reducing the risk of maternal mortality in the developing world, but antenatal programs with strong nutritional components that reach a high proportion of pregnancies need strengthening before a substantial impact can be achieved.

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