5.2.4  Preventing vitamin A deficiency

Counsel the mother on prevention of vitamin A deficiency, which not only threatens her sight, but is a major cause of childhood blindness in babies fed by vitamin A-deficient mothers. Vitamin A in the diet increases resistance to infection and is especially important in producing nourishing breast milk.

  • Can you recall some foods that are rich in vitamin A? (You learned about this in the Modules on Antenatal Care and Nutrition.)

  • Fruit and vegetables.

    Yellow vegetables like carrots, yellow fruits like mangoes, and dark green leafy vegetables such as cabbage and spinach have a lot of vitamin A. So do liver, fish liver oil, milk, eggs and butter.

Remember that the maximum dose of vitamin A for pregnant women is 500,000 IU; beyond this dose is toxic

Part of routine postnatal care is to check if a vitamin A capsule has been given to the mother. The recommended dose for breastfeeding mothers is one 200,000 IU (International Units) vitamin A capsule once after delivery or within six weeks of delivery. Explain that vitamin A will help her to recover better and that the baby will receive the vitamin through her breast milk. Explain to her if she feels nauseated or has a headache after taking the capsule, it should pass in a couple of days.

5.2.3  Preventing iodine deficiency

5.2.5  Preventing iron and folate deficiency