Nutrition and Family Planning: Can we work together?

In an effort to better understand the potential synergies existing between maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) and family planning (FP) (e.g., exclusive breastfeeding and lactational amenorrhea method [LAM]), MCHIP organized a technical consultation on May 14, 2010 in Washington DC to capitalize on opportunities for integration.  More than 55 participants from 31 global health organizations were brought together to participate in the all-day event. Public health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) bilateral organizations, World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and universities presented both research evidence and programmatic findings on pregnancy spacing and the benefits to infant, child and maternal health.
 
The objective of this technical meeting was to recognize and take advantage of the natural synergies that exist between family planning (FP) and maternal infant young child nutrition (MIYCN) to achieve optimal maternal and child nutritional status and health.  To this end, a position paper was prepared to highlight the rationale, strategic alignment and potential for maximizing opportunities between the two technical areas in order to facilitate further discussion and action.   
 
Lactational Amenorrhea Method became the hinge between MIYCN and FP that provided the initial impetus for examining ways to align the two fields of MIYCN and FP.  In this paper, the team explored how to harmonize efforts through the continuum of pregnancy through the first year postpartum, in the following key areas:  birth to pregnancy intervals and related pregnancy outcomes, prevention of unintended pregnancy, maternal nutrition and health, as well as infant and young child nutrition.  
 
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