For Healthcare Professionals only

Indian Maternal Nutritional Status
Woman’s nutritional status has important implications on her health as well as the health of her children. Common Nutrient deficiencies among Indian Pregnant women identified in Nutriplanet research are as follows:

Energy & Protein

  • Indian Epidemiological data shows chronic energy deficiency (CED) in mother-child dyad resulting in higher LBW/SGA babies.
  • Too early, too close, too many and too late pregnancies adversely affects mother-child nutrition and health status.
  • Balanced energy-protein supplementation (<25% calories from protein) is found beneficial in improving infant birth weight. (Ota et al, 2012)


  • Iron deficiency anemia is the most common micro nutrient deficiency with 50% to 90% prevalence among pregnant women. There seems to be large variations among different states in India (Chakravarty, 2002).
  • Nutritional anemia contributes to about 24% of maternal deaths every year and is one of the important causes of low birth weight (Dietary Guidelines for Indians, 2010).
Indian Maternal Nutritional Status figure 1
Indian Maternal Nutritional Status figure 2

Folate & B12

  • Prevalence of folate and B12 deficiency has not been well documented. A study of mothers and offspring of middle-class urban communities in and around Pune City showed that 62% of pregnant women had low B12 levels, and that it was associated with low B12 levels at 2 years in their offspring (Bhate et al 2012).
  • Insufficiency of vitamin B12 and folate during pregnancy can adversely affect brain development of the child (Muthayya et al, 2006).

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D deficiency is also emerging as common nutritional deficiency. Although India is a country with abundant sunshine, about 84% of pregnant women (urban and rural) have significant hypovitaminosis D3. (Sachan A et al, 2005).
  • Widely prevalent vitamin D deficiency is functionally relevant to skeletal health including osteomalacia and rickets. Nutritional deficiency in women is often increased during pregnancy because of the additional nutrient requirements of fetal growth.


  1. Ota E, Tobe-Gai R, Mori R, Farrar D. Antenatal dietary advice and supplementation to increase energy and protein intake. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 9.
  2. Chakravarty, I. (2002) “Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiency Based on Results Obtained from the National Pilot Pro gram on Control of Micronutrient Malnutrition”, Nutr Rev., 60(5 Pt 2): S53-8
  3. Dietary Guidelines for Indians, National Institute of Nutrition, 2010. Retrieved from
  4. Muthayya, S., A. V. Kurpad, C. P. Duggan, R. J. Bosch, P. Dwarkanath, A. Mhaskar, R. Mhaskar, A. Thomas, M. Vaz, S. Bhat and W. W. Fawzi (2006) “Low Maternal Vitamin B-12 Status Is Associated with Intrauterine Growth Retardation in Urban South Indians”, Eur J Clin Nutr., 60(6): 791-801
  5. Sachan A, Gupta R, Das V, Agarwal A, Awasthi PK, Bhatia V.High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among pregnant women and their newborns in northern India. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1060-4.