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THAT doubles the recommended number of health visits during pregnancy

Pregnant women paint their bellies before an event to celebrate “Healthy Maternity Week” in Lima

(Copyright Reuters 2016)

GENEVA – The world health organization revised guidelines for prenatal care on Monday, saying pregnant women have twice as many contacts with care providers, eight – as recommended earlier.

More prenatal contacts help to reduce the chance of stillbirths, with 8 fewer perinatal deaths per 1000 births, the WHO said in a statement.

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Last year, about 303,000 women worldwide died of pregnancy-related causes, 2.7 million babies died in their first 28 days of life and 2.6 million were stillborn. Only 64 percent of women received antenatal care four or more times during their pregnancy.

The new guidelines from the WHO are 49 recommendations touching on diet, physical activity, tobacco, malaria, blood tests, tetanus vaccination, and the use of ultrasound. There is also advice on problems such as nausea, pain in back and constipation.

The recommendations are to take from 30 to 60 milligrams of iron supplements and 0.4 mg folic acid per day during pregnancy.

“More and better contacts between all women and their health care providers during pregnancy promotes the uptake of preventive measures and the timely detection of risks, reduces complications, and addresses health inequalities,” WHO is the head of the health of mothers, Anthony Costello, said in a statement.

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