A Healthy Pregnancy in Ten Steps

As evidence builds on the risk for babies of overweight mothers, a new simple guide sheds light on the right advice to follow

 A new online resource, Ten Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy, aims to help mums-to-be to use pregnancy as a window of opportunity to build good habits for health, growth and development for both mum and baby. The resource by the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) brings together and simplifies the most up to date, evidence-based information in pregnancy nutrition and wellbeing.

The current reality in the UK is that nearly 50 per cent of pregnant women attending their first maternity appointment are overweight (19%) or obese (26%) 1.  We also know that there is a lot of information accessible to women, but the advice is often unhelpful or conflicting. A recent ITF poll revealed just how little understanding mums-to-be have, with almost half (41 per cent) of respondents thinking that it’s OK to  “eat for two”. One-third (30 per cent) of respondents said they did not receive enough information to help them make good decisions about their diet when expecting.

Available online, the resource outlines the Ten Steps that all women can incorporate into their day-to-day, before and during pregnancy. A more in-depth booklet is available for healthcare professionals working with women, providing the evidence and rationale for each step. The material is supported by leading organisations, the National Obesity Forum, the Association for Nutrition and the Pre-school Alliance.

Gill Perks, Lead Midwife at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital and a member of the ITF says, “Pregnancy is a perfect window of opportunity for women to reassess and improve what and how much they eat and their level of exercise. Not infrequently, advice is more focused on what women should not eat, instead of what they could do to get healthier.

“Better nutrition guidance in pregnancy should be considered a public health priority. The Ten Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy offer a practical guide for mothers-to-be to manage their weight whilst eating well to sustain a healthy pregnancy, and dispel common pregnancy myths and misconceptions.”

Try out the Ten Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy by downloading the leaflet from http://www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/pregnancy-and-infancy/healthy-lifestyle/ten-steps-healthy-pregnancy

The ITF is calling on families to join the conversation on Twitter. Follow @InfTodForum and support our #10StepsHealthyPregnancy.

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Further Reading

  • Katie Fox, Primary School Teacher   Due to coronavirus, playgroups and nurseries are shut and those children due to start school in a few months will be out of routine and away from friends. It is understandable that many parents are worried about getting their children ready for September. Children learn and progress at different rates so there are no set criteria on what they need to be able to know or do when they first start nursery, but if they have had some experience learning at home it could help to make it a smoother transition. Turn taking games, imaginative play, reading, and developing fine and gross motor skills can promote independence, build confidence and help develop simple skills.
  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist Dr Maddy Harris, Clinical Psychologist   In times of crisis – such as the one we are currently living in – parents may find that the normal stresses of everyday life are magnified and additional worries and concerns emerge. Knowing how to cope may prove difficult, but an approach which has widely been discussed in the media and on social media is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).The premise of ACT is that fears and anxieties are seen as real and cannot be ‘challenged’ away, unlike with cognitive behavioural therapy. By concentrating on our actions we are able to work past our fears. This method may help those struggling with this new chaotic routine we find ourselves in. The Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help with our top tips on how to apply this intervention.
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   As social distancing policies are put in place, and schools and nurseries shut their doors indefinitely, keeping your toddlers entertained and active for hours on end during COVID-19 may seem daunting and at times virtually impossible! Parents and carers have been thrown into a cozy and chaotic ‘new normal’ and may wonder how they can meet the recommended three hours a day of physical activity for under-fives who are walking. But do not panic, the Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help make sure you have plenty of ideas to keep your toddler happy and entertained whilst encouraging physical activity.