Pre-pregnancy health 'must improve'

Too few women follow nutritional and lifestyle recommendations before they become pregnant, even when conception is planned, it has been claimed.

According to research conducted by the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton, England, published on bmj.com, the value of promoting good health and nutrition among women who have not yet conceived is not fully appreciated.

It claims that the time around conception is vital for the development of the baby, meaning good health practices should be implemented before a woman becomes pregnant.

The researchers have called for greater publicity for pre-pregnancy recommendations, but recognise that the substantial numbers of unplanned pregnancies make it difficult for prospective mothers to change their habits prior to conception.

As a result, they claim greater efforts are needed to improve the nutrition and lifestyles of all women of child-bearing age.

Last week, scientists from Newcastle University discovered that maternal obesity has implications for both mother and child.

An increased risk of spina bifida and neural tube defects are two potential results of obesity during pregnancy, researchers claimed.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19032951-ADNFCR