Nutrition in pregnancy and breastfeeding: A public health issue

Kathryn Lamb, Ruth Sanders

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Nutrition during the childbearing continuum has a significant long-term impact upon the health and wellbeing of mother, infant and the wider family unit (Ferrari et al, 2013; World Health Organization (WHO), 2011, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, (NICE) 2008a; 2008b). Despite wide-ranging evidence around healthy eating in pregnancy, there is a dearth of information readily available to women on appropriate nutritional intake while breastfeeding. This major public health issue affects the current climate of increasing levels of obesity and widespread poorly balanced diet in women of a childbearing age (Aubuchon-Endsley et al, 2015). The frontline roles of the midwife and health visitor have enormous potential to promote healthy behavioural change, with the need for joined-up community-based care higher than ever due to under-resourced postnatal services (Fraser and Cullen, 2006). Health visitors and midwives should strive to collaborate with women ensuring the fundamental components of a healthy and balanced diet are met while breastfeeding, including addressing portion size, and nutritional values of micronutrients and essential food groups. This would equip women with the necessary tools to create positive behavioural lifestyle changes, important for the longer-term inter-generational health of families and the wider community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-536
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015

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