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Open Access Neonatal period: Linking best nutrition practices at birth to optimize maternal and infant health and survival

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Delayed umbilical cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin contact, and early initiation of breastfeeding have been shown to be simple, safe, and effective and should be implemented in all deliveries, with very few exceptions. Although these practices can also prevent death, their importance extends beyond survival and optimizes both short-and long-term neonatal and maternal health and nutrition. Their implementation requires that they be integrated with one another and included with other standard lifesaving care practices. Leveraging knowledge of efficacious interventions into high-quality programs with broad coverage is often the main obstacle to improving neonatal and maternal health in low-income countries. To achieve results at-scale, attention must be given to increasing access to scientific information supporting evidence-based practices and addressing the skills needed to implement the recommended practices; establishing and communicating global, national, and local policies and guidelines for implementation in conjunction with advocacy and synchronization with other maternal and neonatal care efforts; reorganizing delivery care services; and monitoring and evaluation. This will require international investments similar to those being made for other lifesaving neonatal interventions. Neonatal vitamin A supplementation, recommended for implementation in Asia, is controversial, and the evidence for and against this recommendation is reviewed.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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