Arrish J, Yeatman H, Williamson M Midwives' role in providing nutrition advice during pregnancy: meeting the challenges? A qualitative study. Nurs Res Pract. 2017; 2017

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Englund-Ögge L, Brantsaeter AL, Sengpiel V Maternal dietary patterns and preterm delivery: results from large prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2014; 348

Lee DJ, Haynes CL, Garrod D Exploring the midwife's role in health promotion practice. British Journal of Midwifery. 2012; 20:(3)178-86

Lin PY, Huang SY, Su KP A meta-analytic review of polyunsaturated fatty acid compositions in patients with depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2010; 68:(2)140-7

Lin PY, Chang CH, Chong MFF, Chen H, Su KP Polyunsaturated fatty acids in perinatal depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry. 2017; 82:(8)560-9

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Pregnancy and diet

02 November 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 11


Midwives are in an ideal position to advise women on nutrition during pregnancy, but, as George Winter writes, time constraints and conflicting information can make this difficult

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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