The RCM has advised women with a BMI of 30 or more to lose weight before becoming pregnant and warned against "eating for two" while pregnant.

This concern over weight was shown by Sue Macdonald, Education and Research Manager at the Royal College of Midwives, in response to research published in the US journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on weight loss, obesity and pregnancy outcomes.

She said: "There is a public health message that needs to be conveyed to women of the potential impact of being overweight when pregnant. Women with a BMI of 30 or more fall in that risk group, which is why it is important to lose the weight/reduce their BMI before becoming pregnant.

"Women who become pregnant are usually highly motivated to be as healthy as possible for their babies, and this is an ideal time to provide the information and support required.

This includes healthy eating and regular exercises/physical activities. The recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), guidance was useful in promoting the message about healthy eating and encouraging mothers to eat healthily or engage in exercise.

"We also need to dispel the "eating for two" myth; but it is important to avoid being judgemental about weight management, and ensure that women are given clear information, advice and support.

"The midwife is in an ideal position to work with women to provide tailored and individualised advice regarding healthy eating and taking regular exercises to improve health and wellbeing in pregnancy, labour and post birth."

A recent study by Bristol University came to similar conclusions. 

Posted by Penny Hosie on 13.5.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com

Eating for two