Maternal, Infant, and child health statistics are important for any community because of the direct indicator of the effectiveness of the disease prevention and health promotion services. Currently the United States is trying to lower maternal and infant mortality rates. It is common knowledge that unintended pregnancies, late or no prenatal care, poor maternal and child nutrition, maternal drug use, poverty, limited education, and insufficient childcare combined with an inability to access health care services are precursors for these high rates (McKenzie, Pinger, 2015). We are now aware that many of the risk factors can be prevented or reduced by early interventions of educational programs and preventative medical services. It is important for communities to provide a positive environment that supports and nurtures the emotional and physical needs of the family and helps to reduce the need for costly medical and social assistance to these members of society now and at later stages in life.
Baylor College of Medicine news reports on April 29,2014 that researchers find maternal nutrition before pregnancy leaves permanent marks on developing child’s genome. This was first concluded by a 10 year long mouse study, which showed that the maternal diet of mouse before and after pregnancy established epigenetic changes and marks on the genome. At that time it was uncertain if these effect would also occur in humans. Recently a team of researchers from the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Medical Research Council Unit started studying the naturally occurring seasonal differences in diet and the nutritional status of women in rural Gambia. They concluded that mother’s nutrition around the time of conception causes epigenetic changes that permanently and systemically impact their offspring (Pathak, 2014).
Neuroscience is now proving that the onset of adult disease has its roots in fetal life, (Mansoor, 2014) The health of your baby and the health the baby has through it’s life is a representation of the maternal nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy. Poor nutrition has shown effects on child’s liver, kidney, and other developments as well as onset of disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, hypertension and mental disorders just to name a few.
The health of our country is often considered on the health of the Maternal and Infant populations (McKenzie, Pinger, 2015). Up until the past 10 years or so, Nutrition has not been a topic of much discussion other than for weight loss. Since this time more health care professionals have become specialized in the nutrition field and because of that more information is being researched about the extensive benefits and effects nutrition has on the prevention of disease, and overall health status of people.
With most things, education makes a world of difference. A lot of the population is unaware of the broad and all-encompassing effects nutrition has on the human body. It takes the community to educate people on changes that can be made to help them make better nutritional decisions and the health benefits because of these choices. It is important for the communities to continue putting positive efforts in disseminating nutrition and health education to the populations. This helps to educate parents on the current health risks as well as the statistics on Maternal and Infant Mortality and how their chooses can make a positive impact on not only their own but also their children’s lives.
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.
McKenzie, J., Pinger, R. (2015) An Introduction to Community and Public Health (8th Ed.) Chapter 7 Maternal, Infant, and Child Health, Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Pathak, D. (2014) Researchers Find Maternal Nutrition Before Pregnancy Leaves Permanent Marks on Child’s Genome, Baylor College of Medicine, Retrieved From
Mansoor, J. (2012) Effect of Maternal Nutrition on the Growing Baby, Retrieved from