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Nutrition is the foundation of health.

Eating for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Good nutrition is essential to help support a successful pregnancy and breast-feeding. Women planning a pregnancy should follow a balanced nutrient-rich diet and consume a daily folic acid supplement up until the end of the first trimester. Many pregnancies, especially amongst teenagers, are unplanned, and educating women of childbearing age about the need to take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects is important. Maintaining a healthy body weight and weight gain is also important: if the mother is underweight, overweight or obese this can harm the health of both mother and fetus. Care should be taken to monitor the nutritional status of vulnerable groups (e.g. teenagers, vegans, women who are underweight, and those at risk of too little vitamin D) to ensure a healthy pregnancy outcome. During breast-feeding the mother needs to eat a sufficient and nutrient-rich diet to provide enough energy and nutrients to support milk production.