Expert Commentary

Factors Contributing to Poor Perinatal Care in Vietnam (Vietnam Mang Thay Và Chăm Sóc Em Bé”)

Huong Giang Bac, M.D.

Clinical Professor, Dept Obstetrics and Gynecology
Bach Mai Hospital (Bệnh Viện Bạch Mai)
78 Đường Giải Phóng, Phương Mai, Đống Đa,
Hànội, Vietnam


As with many developing countries, we see a high incidence of suboptimal perinatal care, especially with mothers transitioning between traditional practices of child-rearing and their conceptions of “modern” parenting practices. While not as prominent here in Hanoi, children brought from outlying provinces are frequently underweight and show evidence of stunted growth. There is also a high incidence of respiratory infections and gastrointestinal disorders including diarrhea. Although most mothers report breastfeeding their children, at some point it seems to be more infrequent during the first few months of life, when many mothers feel it is better to use infant formulas. This factor, plus lower levels of essential nutrients and minerals in breast milk may also be involved in infant malnutrition. The mothers we have seen have not had any overt disease although in several cases there has been evidence of Anemia and zinc deficiencies.


  1. Nakamori, M et al (2010) Nutritional status, feeding practice and incidence of infectious diseases among children aged 6 to 18 months in northern mountainous. Vietnam J Med Invest. 2010 Feb;57(1-2):45-53.
  2. Nakamori, M et al (2008) Nutritional status of lactating mothers and their breast milk concentration of iron, zinc and copper in rural. Vietnam J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Aug;55(4):338-45.
  3. Hien NT, and Ushijima H (2005) Frequency of prenatal care visits by ethnic minority mothers and association with infant birthweight in Bac Kan Province, Vietnam. Trop Doct. 2005 Apr;35(2):103-4.
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