By: 17 February 2015
The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) support healthy weight during pregnancy

The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) support healthy weight during pregnancy

The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) supports the findings in the Dorian Consortium’s European research project which looks at the effects of overweight and obesity and excess weight gain before and during pregnancy on the development of a fetus. Researchers are calling for support for mothers and mothers-to-be to achieve good lifestyle changes and healthy weights when trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

The research adds further confirmation of the need to act earlier for later health, which is backed up by the ITF recent report, Early Nutrition for Later Health; Time to Act Earlier. This is an important part of the solution to the problem of children developing risk factors for being overweight and obese later in life, which can also lead to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is estimated that one in 20 women in the UK give birth with a BMI over 35[i], which puts them in the obese category, proving the scale of the problem.

Behaviours that women can easily adopt are; eating a balanced diet containing all the essential food groups during pregnancy; taking supplements such as Healthy Start vitamins which contain Folic Acid, vitamin C and vitamin D; getting regular exercise and keeping an eye on weight gain – ideally a woman of normal weight should gain around 11.5-16 kilograms during pregnancy. Women who enter pregnancy overweight should limit their weight gain to 7-11.5kgs.

There are many myths around pregnancy, including which foods to eat and how much. The most common myth in pregnancy is that a woman should ‘eat for two’ when in fact only an extra 200 kcals per day from food is recommended and only in the third trimester.

Women and the healthcare professionals that advise them need access to consistent practical information that is easy to adopt and can help to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle smoother. The ITF factsheet, Healthy Eating in Pregnancy provides this advice, with an up-to-date guide for healthcare professionals and guidance and tips for parents.

The solution is that we should all act earlier to ensure all children get the best start in life ‒ #ActEarlier4Health.

The ITF is calling on healthcare professionals to support families by helping to spread the word about the importance of acting earlier to influence the later health of the child. Join the healthy conversation on Twitter by helping mums and mums-to-be to adopt healthier lifestyles using #ActEarlier4Health to take part in the debate.