Nutrition is crucial before, during and after pregnancy to optimize health for both mother and child, according to an updated position paper and a new practice paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The Academy's position paper "Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome" has been published in the July issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. An accompanying practice paper has been published on the Academy's website for Academy members and is available to the public for purchase. The practice paper provides registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered with an overview of current recommendations related to nutrition and healthy lifestyles during pregnancy and best practices on ways to implement those recommendations.
The Academy's updated position is: It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that women of childbearing age should adopt a lifestyle optimizing health and reducing risk of birth defects, suboptimal fetal development, and chronic health problems in both mother and child. Components leading to healthy pregnancy outcome include healthy pre-pregnancy weight, appropriate weight gain and physical activity during pregnancy, consumption of a wide variety of foods, appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation, avoidance of alcohol and other harmful substances and safe food handling.
According to the position paper's authors, factors that contribute to a healthy pregnancy go beyond a well-balanced diet, and registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetics technicians, registered can help pregnant women select an appropriate food plan and tailor advice to the woman's needs. In addition, RDNs and DTRs can work with pregnant women to help manage side effects that could negatively affect diet and pregnancy outcomes.
The Academy offers practical and achievable advice for women of childbearing age, including: • Nourish your future: Follow a healthy diet and be physically active before, during and after pregnancy. • A well-balanced diet can meet most of your nutrient needs during pregnancy. Talk with your health provider about iron and other nutrient supplements. • Ask your health provider how much weight gain is right for you. A healthy weight gain is important for both baby and mother. • A healthy lifestyle helps prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy. • Registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetics technicians, registered can help you select an appropriate food plan and tailor advice to your needs.
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