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Maternity Services: Obesity

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department issues guidance to NHS hospitals on the admission of overweight women to maternity units. (308012)

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance to the national health service on improving nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children in low-income households, in March 2008. This guidance is appropriate to all women irrespective of their income. This guidance recommends that obese women should be encouraged to lose weight before and after pregnancy through a structured and tailored programme that combines advice on healthy eating and physical exercise with ongoing support to allow for sustained lifestyle changes. During pregnancy, women should have the support of a dietician for assessment and advice on healthy eating and regular exercise.

Local trusts have local protocols to support the management of obese pregnant women that take account of the need of these women, and the facilities and services available to them. Arrangements through maternity and neonatal networks support these mothers and their babies.