Sentani (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin emphasized that efforts to prevent stunting must be carried out during pregnancy before the baby is born.

As quoted in a government press release here on Tuesday, Sadikin stated that mothers' nutritional needs during pregnancy should be met to prevent the birth of children with a risk of stunting, failure to thrive due to chronic malnutrition, recurrent infections, and lack of stimulation.

"If the mother is malnourished, it is almost certain that her child will also be stunted," he stated.

The minister then emphasized the importance of meeting the nutritional needs of babies while they are in the womb.

In order to prevent stunting in children, Sadikin said that mothers must also be ensured that they are in good health before and during pregnancy.

Hence, the government urges mothers to undergo a minimum of six health checkups during pregnancy.

"In the past, there were four health checks (recommended for) pregnant women. Now, it is (recommended) to be six times with the addition of an ultrasound (examination)," Minister Sadikin remarked, adding that ultrasound examination equipment had been provided at several Puskesmas, or community health centers.

Health checkups during pregnancy are needed to assess the health of the mother and fetus during pregnancy and to detect early maternal complications.

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Translator: Yudhi Efendi, Katriana,
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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