Are you taking enough vegetables and milk as a pregnant mum?
Many Singaporean women are not following a well-balanced eating plan to meet their nutritional needs during pregnancy, according to a survey conducted by Abbott Nutrition with 480 women during the First Mums’ and Dads’ Congress (FMDC) in 2012. The survey results were revealed at this year’s FMDC, and highlighted various gaps in nutrition for pregnant women in Singapore.
The survey was conducted by Abbott Nutrition to determine the knowledge levels of pregnant mums and mums-to-be around nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, in line with FMDC, which aims to educate new parents and parents-to-be on topics such as maternal health and nutrition.
While the majority (76 percent) of pregnant women thought they consumed balanced and nutritious meals, a closer look showed they are not meeting the Health Promotion Board of Singapore’s nutrition guidelines during pregnancy. Less than half of the pregnant women surveyed consumed at least two servings of fruit (41 percent) and vegetables (48 percent) daily, and only one out of every five pregnant women (19 percent), consumed at least two glasses of milk daily. According to the Health Promotion Board, it is recommended that women consume three servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit and two glasses of milk every day during pregnancy1.
Most women surveyed said they found it difficult to eat healthily in Singapore. Half of the respondents (51 percent) felt that they did not have enough time to prepare healthy meals at home and more than half (61 percent) felt there was a lack of healthy choices when dining out. In addition to healthy eating, the majority of women (83 percent) worry about gaining excess weight during their pregnancies.
Dr Kelly Loi, Medical Director of the Health & Fertility Centre for Women, said, “While being pregnant does not mean having to eat for two, it is a matter of concern that many pregnant women do not appear to be meeting their nutritional needs. Eating well during pregnancy ensures optimal nourishment for the unborn baby. Pregnant women are advised to cut back on fat, salt and sugar and increase their intake of whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products.”
Ms Hui Hwa Koh-Minjoot, Regional General Manager for Abbott Nutrition International added, “Abbott Nutrition is committed to the health of pregnant mums in Singapore, which is why we conducted the survey to better understand their knowledge levels around nutrition. A healthy diet during pregnancy can promote a baby’s growth and development. While the basic principles of a healthy, balanced diet remains the same for all women, pregnant women need to pay special attention to ensure that they are eating foods rich in calcium, folate and iron.”
About the First Mums’ and Dads’ Congress
First Mums’ & Dads’ Congress is a parenting event in Singapore, held by Abbott Nutrition yearly. At the Congress, various doctors and healthcare professionals share information and experience on a variety of parenting topics to prepare new parents and parents-to-be for parenthood. Experts also provide tips on maternal health and nutrition, to help pregnant mums look and feel good throughout their pregnancy.
About the survey
As part of the First Mums’ and Dads’ Congress 2012, Abbott Nutrition conducted a survey among 480 women to determine their knowledge levels about nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, as well as uncover possible misconceptions pregnant women may hold regarding nutritional needs during pregnancy.
Selected survey results:
- Sixty-one percent of respondents feel that there is a lack of healthy food choices when eating out. Fifty-one percent of respondents think there is not enough time to prepare healthy meals at home.
- Seventy-six percent of pregnant women say that they have balanced and nutritious meals. Yet:
o Only 41 percent of pregnant women eat at least two servings of fruit daily.
o Only 48 percent of pregnant women eat at least two servings of vegetables daily.
o Only 19 percent of pregnant women drink at least two cups of milk daily.
- During pregnancy, 98 percent trust healthcare professionals for nutrition-related information, 33 percent trust websites, while 27 percent trust their parents or in-laws. For pregnancy-related topics, 84 percent trust healthcare professionals, 39 percent trust Traditional Chinese Medicine professionals and 34 percent trust websites.
1 HPB Online, Healthy Start for Your Pregnancy.