How can I help improve maternal nutrition and weight management?

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Service managers and commissioners

Service managers and commissioners can ensure that:

  • staff are educated and trained in maternal nutrition and weight management
  • services are accessible and relevant to vulnerable families and consistent with public sector policy commitments
  • public health campaigns highlight the importance maternal nutrition and healthy weight
  • relevant information resources are available

Midwives, GPs, practice nurses

These disciplines are often a first point of contact for pregnant women and should be familiar with current guidance on effective interventions.

At the earliest opportunity:

  • discuss eating habits and activity levels
  • offer information and advice on nutrition and weight - see the Early Years Information Pathway (external link)
  • encourage uptake of dietary supports offered via Healthy Start (external link)

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Voluntary sector workers and managers

Voluntary sector workers often have better contacts with mothers in vulnerable groups than statutory services:


Employers can help by:

  • making information available on healthy eating and physical activity (external link)
  • making healthy eating options available to staff
  • encouraging walking and cycling among staff and customers

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 Interventions to improve nutrition and weight management in pregnancy

Services should be accessible to all pregnant women and their partners and respond to individual needs.

This approach is not stigmatising and allows for early intervention before issues become critical.

Detailed guidance for professionals in Scotland (external links):

Scottish Perspective on NICE public health guidance 11: Improving the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children in low-income households

Scottish Briefing on NICE public health guidance 27: Dietary interventions and physical activity interventions for weight management before, during and after pregnancy

Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action

Evidence Summary: Public health interventions to promote maternal and child nutrition

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