e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Nutrition counselling during pregnancy

Maintaining good nutrition during pregnancy is critical for the health of the mother and unborn child. Nutrition education and counselling is a widely used strategy to improve the nutritional status of women during pregnancy. The strategy focuses primarily on:

  • enhancing maternal diet quality by increasing the diversity and amount of foods consumed
  • promoting adequate weight gain through sufficient and balanced protein and energy intake
  • promoting consistent and continued use of micronutrient supplements, food supplements or fortified foods.

Available evidence suggests that nutrition education and counselling may improve gestational weight gain, reduce the risk of anaemia in late pregnancy, increase birth weight, and lower the risk of preterm delivery. This intervention may be more effective when women are also provided with nutrition support such as food or micronutrient supplements.

WHO recommendations

Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available


Related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

21 July 2015 10:14 CEST

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee

Biological, behavioural and contextual rationale