It has long been known that reaching a healthy weight before pregnancy can help improve many of the risk factors associated with being overweight during pregnancy, for both mother and baby in the long run.
A new article from the BBC has suggested that “dieting” during pregnancy is now safe for mother and baby. But it is important to highlight that they are referring to weight management and consuming a healthy, balanced diet.
“Dieting” can be perceived in many ways and to some this may mean cutting out whole food groups, following detox plans or skipping meals. Therefore the BBC should have been more careful with with their use of this word.
Current advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggests that “Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the health of the unborn child.”
This advice still stands today.
With half of the UK population either overweight or obese, it may be beneficial to monitor weight gain during pregnancy more throughly and again, help expectant mothers to eat a healthy and well balanced diet during their pregnancy (see our guide to eating well during pregnancy).
However, it is important that the BBC do not add to existing confusion by suggesting that “dieting” per say (without giving any specifics on what this means) is safe to do.
We do, however, need to help mothers understand how to look after their weight and health before, during and beyond pregnancy.
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