As a mother to three girls, I consider it my greatest gift and my greatest responsibility. I am privileged beyond belief to live in an economic system that provides for all of my basic needs.

In the U.S., we are equipped to have all of our basic needs for pregnancy covered; however that is not the case throughout the world.

Recent science has shown that from the moment of conception until about the second year of life, critical interventions need to be made for the mother and the child to ensure healthy physical and cognitive development. In the U.S., many take this time for granted with an abundance of good food, vitamins, and health care. With proper prenatal care, skilled attendants during birth, and post-natal care, most women can have successful pregnancies and positive birthing experiences.

Among these necessities during the first 1,000 days of motherhood — including folic acid, iron and micronutrient supplements, vaccines, Vitamin A supplementation, breastfeeding counseling, and family planning — nutrition may be the most important.

Malnutrition affects one out of three people on the planet. From hunger to obesity, an unhealthy diet may be the single biggest contributor to chronic disease and impaired immune systems worldwide.

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