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Systematic Review of Interventions Addressing Food Insecurity in Pregnant Women and New Mothers

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by Fiona McKayFiona McKay, Sheree SpiteriSheree Spiteri, J Zinga, K Sulemani, S E Jacobs, N Ranjan, L Ralph, E Raeburn, S Threlfall, M L Bergmeier, Paige van der PligtPaige van der Pligt

Purpose of the Review

Food insecurity can have a negative health impact for women during pregnancy and the postpartum period; however, there are a range of barriers to meeting nutritional guidelines during pregnancy. Food insecurity is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications and mental and physical health outcomes. This review aims to provide insight into programmes and interventions which have targeted food insecurity in pregnant and early postpartum women. The central research question for this review is as follows: What programmes and interventions have sought to address food insecurity among pregnant and postpartum women? A systematic search of five electronic databases including Medline, CINAHL, Global Health, Embase, and Cochrane was undertaken on August 2021. Key thematic areas searched were food insecurity, pregnancy, nutritional outcomes, and interventions or programmes. Only studies that were published since 2000 in English were considered.

Recent Findings

Eleven studies were included in this review. Studies employed a range of methods and outcomes measures. They were conducted in mostly low- and middle-income countries, and in general, focused on nutritional supplementation, with some studies also incorporating nutrition education or counselling.


The findings of this review suggest that while there are a range of possible interventions that seek to address food insecurity and hunger among pregnant and postpartum women, the limited number of robust evaluations or long-term interventions mean that evidence for any one intervention type is limited. Furthermore, the programmes and interventions that do exist are generally embedded within a single context or structure, and as such, may not be able to be widely implemented. (Prospero Registration CRD42022245787)



Current Nutrition Reports


1 - 14




Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal