The importance of good nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is emphasised by midwives in their role when working with women and whanau.
Midwifery lecturer, Jade Wratten, co-authored a chapter on micronutrients, their effects and the foods that contain them, in the book Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childbirth: Food for Thought.
“A pregnant woman requires various micronutrients for her own nourishment and to facilitate critical life processes within her body such as cell division and DNA synthesis,” Wratten explains. “We wanted to create a comprehensive and accessible source of information on micronutrients for midwives and health professionals.” But she points out that people consume food – not micronutrients - in isolation.
Wratten says food is much better to consume than supplements.
“Women often rush out to buy pregnancy multi-vitamins which can be expensive, but with the exception of folic acid and iodine, these supplements are usually unnecessary.”
As a midwife of 14 years, Wratten has a keen interest in nutrition in pregnant women. She coordinates a paper on nutrition for childbearing women and a postgraduate course for registered midwives.
“Midwives are charged with providing holistic information encouraging women to adopt and maintain a well-balanced diet,” she says. “Midwives may be more likely to share nutritional information to women if they feel confident in their understanding of micronutrients and their contribution to health and well-being.”
Wratten, J., Martin, C. & Mullen, A. (2013) Examining Micronutrients in Pregnancy and Lactation. Chapter 3 in Davies, L. & Derry, R. Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childbirth: Food for Thought, Routledge. ISBN-10: 0415536065, Kindle Edition 2013.