Modern Diets may be Leaving Women Nutritionally Under-prepared for Pregnancy

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New survey findings reveal that many Australian women are not adequately consuming the specific nutrition necessary for a healthy pregnancy. The Pregnancy Nutrition Survey, commissioned by Elevit, sheds light on the knowledge and practices of over 1000 Australian women aged 18-54 regarding nutrition during pre-conception and pregnancy.

The results show that only a quarter (27%) of current or aspiring mothers are incorporating essential nutrients into their diets for a healthy pregnancy. Astonishingly, nearly half (44%) of women actively trying to conceive admit that they don’t understand what to eat to obtain the necessary nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.

One of the main barriers identified in the survey is the prevalence of exclusionary diets among women. Approximately 23% follow intermittent fasting, 13% adhere to a keto diet, and 19% eliminate dairy from their diets. These diets, although popular for various reasons, may deprive the body of critical nutrients such as calcium, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Furthermore, 31% of women surveyed express a greater concern for what not to eat rather than focusing on the essential nutrients needed during pregnancy. This is alarming given that pregnancy increases the body’s nutritional demands by up to 50%.

Paediatric Nutritionist Mandy Sacher emphasises the importance of adequate nutrition during the pre-conception phase, stating, “There are a range of micronutrients needed for critical developments of the foetus during those early weeks following conception – often before you’ve noticed the signs of pregnancy. Nutrition is so important from the first moment that you consider trying to conceive.” Unfortunately, many women are unaware of the deficiencies in their modern diets and do not understand the role of pregnancy-specific multivitamins in filling these nutritional gaps.

The survey results reveal several concerning trends that indicate a lack of understanding regarding nutritional needs during pregnancy. For example, 23% of women surveyed practice intermittent fasting, suggesting a potential need for additional nutritional support. Additionally, 47% of women believe that their general nutrition is sufficient to support their pregnancy, disregarding the unique nutritional requirements during this period. Also, 37% of currently pregnant women started taking pregnancy-specific nutrition only after becoming pregnant, missing out on the opportunity to build higher nutrient levels in advance.

Mandy Sacher acknowledges the challenges faced by women when it comes to navigating pregnancy nutrition and believes that the Pre-conception & First 1000 Days Nutrition Pack will provide valuable support. “We know that pregnancy can sometimes be an overwhelming time, especially when it comes to what you can and can’t eat. It can be information overload and at times difficult to access credible information for free. This is why I’ve collaborated with Elevit to release The Pre-conception & First 1000 Days Nutrition Pack to help ease the mental load around pre-conception and pregnancy nutrition for women,” she explains.

While obtaining optimal nutrition from food sources is ideal, there are instances where supplementation becomes necessary, especially during pre-conception and pregnancy. Pregnancy-specific multivitamins play a crucial role in supporting the developing baby’s needs for a healthy start in life.

It is important for women to consult with healthcare professionals before taking any supplements and to seek specific medical advice if they have a baby with neural tube defects or other complications. Elevit’s Nutrition Pack, along with guidance from healthcare professionals, aims to provide women with the necessary tools and resources to support their health and their baby’s development during this critical period.

The Pregnancy Nutrition Survey exposed a concerning gap in understanding and adherence to proper nutrition during pre-conception and pregnancy among Australian women. The survey findings highlight the prevalence of exclusionary diets and a lack of awareness regarding the essential nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy.

The development of this nutrition pack in collaboration with Mandy Sacher, we believe, is a great initiative to provide accessible resources to women on their journey towards a healthy pregnancy and the best start in life for their babies.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only, and does not constitute health or medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your physical or mental health, seek immediate medical attention.