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.)
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.