A shake up of pregnancy guidelines has a renewed focus on weight and diet calling for regular weigh-ins to reduce any complications.

The guidelines also question popular supplements suggesting in many cases they’re a waste of money.

Pregnant women will be offered a weigh-in at every antenatal visit and consistently advised about diet and exercise while routine vitamin D testing will be scrapped under updated pregnancy care guidelines.

Routine testing for hepatitis C at the first antenatal visit is also recommended.

“Routine testing of all pregnant women for vitamin D status and subsequent vitamin D supplementation is not supported by evidence and should cease as the benefits and harms of vitamin D supplementation remain unclear,” according to the guidelines, published on Monday in the Medical Journal of Australia and led by Prof Caroline Homer from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute.

“The recommendation for health professionals to provide advice to pregnant women about weight, diet and physical activity, and the opportunity to be weighed, will help women to make changes leading to better health outcomes for themselves and their babies.”

The guidelines are intended for midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals, shares The Guardian.

A professor of midwifery at Western Sydney University, Hannah Dahlen, has studied the experiences and concerns of pregnant obese women and said the guidelines would have to be carefully implemented by doctors.

“Our research shows health providers aren’t adequately skilled to do this in a way that’s sensitive, while some are great at it,” she said. “A lot more needs to be done on how to deliver the message in a way that’s helpful and not harmful.

“It’s not just about a physical outcome, there can be a significant psychological impact of bringing up weight. We have got an issue, definitely, in our society with more and more women being overweight having babies and that’s not a healthy thing. But let’s be careful not to alienate those women further. I think you can bring weight and diet up much more safely in a relationship when the woman is seeing the same care provider throughout the pregnancy.”

While overweight and obese women carrying overweight babies were more likely to need interventions at childbirth, Ms Dahlen said it was important to remember intervention rates were increasing for pregnant women regardless of health status.

Read more:

Why we need to push for FREE vitamins for pregnant women ASAP!

WHY pregnant women shouldn’t rush out and start taking vitamin B3


Share your comments below

  • An interesting and informative article, thank you.


  • I think it’s great that they are going to try and advise women to be healthier while pregnant. A lot of people who are already overweight fall pregnant and let themselves go even further using the excuse that they are ‘eating for two’. That phrase is totally false you should eat the same amounts that you normally would ensuring that you are eating at regular intervals and eating healthy foods and not too much junk. Exercise is also a big thing. You can keep doing what you were doing before pregnant and if that wasn’t much then don’t start running marathons, but maybe take up walking. Anything is better than nothing.


  • I was weighed at every visit with my ObGyn and a discussion would take place. I was dramatically losing weight as my baby grew and was sick for the entire 9 months. I think the focus should be more on getting through pregnancy with a healthy baby. Every woman’s body is different. Why do some women put on excess weight during pregnancy? Why do some women increase in weight after birth (not eating-related)? It needs to be about the whole person and their unique situation.


  • this could be a really great idea and initiative


  • Studies have shown that despite taking vitamin D supplements which may change your serum levels, it actually is not providing the benefits compared to receiving vitamin D through sunlight exposure or food. Other studies show the benefits are not clear in taking supplementation. Hence the change in practice.


  • Your body cannot absorb calcium you eat or drink if your Vitamin D levels are low. In my personal opinion, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be checked by blood test to safeguard yourself regardless of whether you are pregnant or not. I think it is even more important during pregnancy to make sure of a good result for baby too. Not all areas have safe sunny weather.


  • I’m like mom81879 eat this, don’t do that, try this, all the info and changes can make one’s head spin.


  • I don’t like that they’re not regularly checking vitamin D. My first blood test after falling pregnant had my vitamin D levels at almost zero which could have affected my daughter badly if not caught when it was. Supplements brought my levels back up, they work and I don’t think abandoning them entirely is wise at all. Whilst O eaity is a problem I agree that many health providers don’t deal with handling patients with care and sensitivity well. Recommending a balanced is all well and good but for those with morning sickness (which I had for the first 6 months of my last pregnancy) just makes it all the more difficult for an expectant mother.


  • Support & advice during & after pregnancy is certainly important.


  • I think it’s important to discuss healthy eating before, during and after pregnancy. Not to mention exercise. You can restrict calories as much as you like. But cutting calories isn’t going to give you energy and nor strength to chase after your active kid.


  • I had weigh ins and my baby is 5 years old now.


  • Most women care about the health of their baby, so if it’s addressed in that context…


  • Sounds good, the wonders and advances of modern medicine.


  • Weigh ins are great and should be included


  • Great article and what a great read so many important information


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