MATERNAL HEALTH CARE Products

 These products, commonly known as “Dhamani Meals”, come in three categories

  1. Ready to use fortified cereal blends
  2. Ready to eat fortified Cereal blends, 
  3. Ready to eat fortified porridges

 

Prenatal formulas

A woman whose diet is deficient during pregnancy is likely to give birth to a baby that is smaller than it would have been if she were adequately nourished. 

Since mortality is more likely in underweight babies, a poor maternal diet is seen to increase the chances of death in the baby. 

 

During pregnancy a woman's nutritional needs become greater than at other times in her life. Her diet needs to provide all the elements needed for the growth of a fertilized ovum or egg into a viable foetus and baby. 

As the woman nourishes herself she also nourishes the growing foetus as well as the placenta to which the foetus in her uterus is attached by its umbilical cord. At the same time her breast tissue prepares for lactation.

During the first half of pregnancy extra food is needed for the mother's uterus, breasts and blood - all of which increase in size or amount - as well as for the growth of the placenta. 

The increased need for food continues in the last half of the pregnancy, but during the last trimester the extra nutrients are required mainly for the rapidly growing foetus, which also needs to develop nutrient stores, particularly of vitamin A, iron and other micronutrients, and energy stores of fat.  

An adequate diet during pregnancy assists the mother to gain the extra weight that is physiologically desirable and helps ensure that the baby's birth weight is normal. 

Healthy women gain weight during pregnancy if they are not overworked.  It also follows that just as a heavy person needs more energy to perform the same amount of physical work as a lighter person, a pregnant woman also needs more energy. 

The weight of the infant at birth is influenced by maternal nutrition. Low birth weights can be expected of infants born to malnourished mothers but even a modest increase in energy intake during pregnancy tends to increase the birth weight of the infant.

The Basal metabolic rate (BMR) usually increases during pregnancy, which also raises energy requirements. Thus most women need more energy when they are pregnant, even if they are not overworked. For the overburdened woman of the developing world, who gets little rest and not much food, weight loss is a real and dangerous prospect.

In many developing countries 50% to 75% of pregnant women have anaemia - Anaemia often contributes to high maternal mortality rates.

A diet with adequate amounts of vitamin A is important during pregnancy, both for the mother and the baby. In the case of many other nutrients, however, the foetus is truly parasitic and takes all the nutrients it requires irrespective of whether the mother has a deficiency or not.

 

Infant formulas 

In a child who consumes much less food than required for his or her energy needs, energy is mobilized from both body fat and muscle. Gluconeogenesis in the liver is enhanced, and there is loss of subcutaneous fat and wasting of muscles.

Kwashiorkor is one of the serious forms of Protein Energy Malnutrition. It is seen most frequently in children one to three years of age, but it may occur at any age. It is found in children who have a diet that is usually insufficient in energy and protein and often in other nutrients. Often the food provided to the child is mainly carbohydrate.

At one end of the spectrum, mild Protein Energy Malnutrition manifests itself mainly as poor physical growth in children. At the other end of the spectrum, kwashiorkor (characterized by the presence of oedema) and nutritional marasmus (characterized by severe wasting) have high case fatality rates. 

In children whose diet is marginal in protein content, or those who are already protein depleted, growth will be retarded during and after infections.

A dramatic illustration of the effect of malnutrition on infection is seen in the fatality rates for common childhood diseases such as measles. Measles is a severe disease with a high fatality rate in many poor countries because the young children who develop it have poor nutritional status, lowered resistance and poor health. Measles is also related to vitamin A deficiency. Providing vitamin A supplements to children with measles who have poor vitamin A status greatly reduces case fatality rates.

Other common infectious diseases such as whooping cough, diarrhoea and upper respiratory infections also have much more serious consequences in malnourished children than in those who are well nourished. Such communicable diseases are the major causes of death of children under five years in the developing countries.

Malnutrition and infections combine to pose an enormous hazard to the health of the majority of the world's population who live in poverty. This hazard particularly threatens children under five years of age. However, even the children who live beyond five years of age are not mainly those who have escaped malnutrition or infectious diseases but those who have survived because seldom are they left without the permanent sequelae or scars of their early health experiences - they are often retarded in their physical, psychological or behavioural development, and they may have other abnormalities that contribute to a less than optimal ability to function as adults and possibly to a shortened life expectation. 

 

Postnatal formulas 

During child birth the mother loses blood, not infrequently 500 to 1000 ml, and she needs nutrients to regenerate that blood. The nutritional stores of a lactating woman may already be more or less depleted as a result of the pregnancy and the loss of blood during childbirth. Lactation raises nutrient needs, mainly because of the loss of nutrients first through colostrum and then through breast milk.

For fully breastfed babies around four months of age, breast milk requirements is often 700 to 800 ml per day. It may rise later to as much as 1000 ml or more. The nutrients present in this milk come from the diet of the mother or from her nutrient reserves. 

A mother whose diet is deficient in thiamine and vitamins A and C produces less of these in her milk. 

Thiamine deficiency in the lactating mother can lead to infantile beriberi in the baby. However, in general, the effect of very poor nutrition on a lactating woman is to reduce the quantity rather than the quality of breast milk.

Provided that the mother has adequate breast milk, which will be as a result of nutritional intake, breastfeeding alone with no added food or medicinal supplementation is all that is needed for the normal infant during the first six months of life. 

Breast milk is relatively deficient in iron, and the infant's store of iron is sufficient only until about six months. As the breastfeeding mother replenishes her supply of iron, she will be able to pass the same to the infant via breast milk. The infant will eventually graduate into taking infant products after 6 months, thereby ensuring a continuation of adequate supplies of iron. 

 

Senior citizens formulas

Older people, like all others, need a good diet that provides for all their nutrient needs. In more affluent societies, older adults are often plagued with chronic diseases that have nutritional origins or associations. These conditions include, among others, arteriosclerotic heart disease, sometimes leading to coronary thrombosis; hypertension, which may lead to stroke or other manifestations; diabetes, with its serious complications; osteoporosis, which frequently leads to hip fracture or collapse of vertebrae; and loss of teeth because of dental caries and periodontal disease. 

Many older people, especially if unfit, take less exercise and so may need less energy. They may, therefore, eat less food and as a result get fewer micronutrients, but their needs for micronutrients are unchanged. Consequently, conditions such as anaemia are common. 

Older people who have lost many or all of their teeth or who have gingivitis or other gum problems may find it difficult to chew many ordinary foods and may need softer foods. Fed on a normal family diet, they may eat too little and become malnourished. They may also suffer from illnesses, which reduce their appetite or desire for food, which may also lead to malnutrition.