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Nutrition in pregnancy and breastfeeding: A public health issue

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Good nutrition during pregnancy is essential Good nutrition during pregnancy is essential

Nutrition during the childbearing process can have lasting benefits and significant consequences for maternal and fetal health.1,2,3 However, advice about diet, nutrition and safe supplementation during pregnancy and the 6-week period following birth is often conflicting, creating confusion about adequate portions, balance of food groups and essential vitamins. The puerperium is a prime time to ensure maternal and infant health, and while health advantages of breastfeeding are widely reported,4,5,6 additional dietary needs of breastfeeding mothers require specific attention.

Postnatal services are increasingly under-resourced7,8 with most women discharged by midwives 10–14 days following birth. This makes it imperative for the wider multidisciplinary team, including midwives, health visitors and GPs, to ensure that nutritional education and support are accurate and concurrent, with care individualised and needs driven.8 This approach ensures families develop trust and confidence in health professionals and, more importantly, instils these qualities in communities.

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