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

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available



Related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

24 August 2016 17:00 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

Global targets

Implementation of this intervention may contribute to the achievement of the following targets:

Global nutrition targets

Target 1: 40% reduction in the number of children under-5 who are stunted

Target 2: 50% reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age

Target 3: 30% reduction in low birth weight

Target 6: Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%