14.1.2  Talking to women about food

A group of people sitting beneath a tree discussing healthy eating with a pregnant woman who has a baby wrapped on her back. One woman is standing holding a baby.

When you see pregnant women for antenatal care, or at village meetings and celebrations, in the market, try to find ways to enquire sensitively about the food they eat. The earlier pregnant women start eating healthier foods, the better chance they have to stay healthy, to have normal births and to have healthy babies.

To find out whether a woman is eating well, ask her what she usually eats, and how much. For example, ask her: ‘What did you eat yesterday?’ Be sure to tell her what is healthy about what she eats, reinforce the positive efforts she is making to eat well. Then, if it is appropriate, make a suggestion for how she could eat better.

Remember that education about food is not enough on its own to change eating behaviour. Even if a woman knows the best foods for health, she may not eat them. Many families cannot afford to buy enough food or a wide variety of foods. Some women may simply not like the taste of some healthy foods. To help a woman eat better, suggest healthy foods that she can afford and will choose to eat.

14.1.1  Eating well

14.1.3  Eating well with little money