Motherhood Nutrition counselling is an ongoing process in which a health professional, usually a registered dietitian, works with an individual to assess his or her usual dietary intake and identify areas where change is needed. The nutrition counselor provides information, educational materials, support, and follow-up to help the individual make and maintain the needed dietary changes. Maintaining good nutrition and a healthy diet during pregnancy is critical for the health of the mother and unborn child. Nutrition education and counselling is a widely used strategy to improve the nutritional status of women during pregnancy. The strategy focuses primarily on:
- Promoting a healthy diet by increasing the diversity and amount of foods consumed
- Promoting adequate weight gain through sufficient and balanced protein and energy intake
- Promoting consistent and continued use of micronutrient supplements, food supplements or fortified foods.
Available evidence suggests that nutrition education and counselling may support optimal gestational weight gain (i.e. neither insufficient nor excessive), reduce the risk of anaemia in late pregnancy, increase birth weight, and lower the risk of preterm delivery. Counselling may be more effective in undernourished populations when women are also provided with nutrition support such as food or micronutrient supplements where needed.