Pregnancy and diet
The midwife is uniquely placed to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and to provide evidence-based nutritional advice to pregnant women. Englund-Ögge et al (2014) reported on a prospective cohort study of 66 000 pregnant women in Norway, finding that women were at a lower risk of preterm delivery if they adhered to a ‘traditional’ dietary pattern during pregnancy, which they stated supported the advice for pregnant women to drink water and to eat a balanced diet.
In an Australian study, however, although midwives acknowledged their role in giving pregnant women nutritional advice, this was not reflected in the advice they actually gave, ‘which in many accounts was passive and medically directed’ (Arrish et al, 2017: 1).
Lee et al (2012: 185) found that while lack of time was the main obstacle to good advice, ‘[h]ealth promotion for weight, diet and physical activity were reported as particularly lacking.’ The authors suggested that post-registration training in public health needed reviewing and updating, with particular emphasis on aspects such as weight management and diet.
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