Aim: To develop new food group recommendations for pregnant women. Taking into account new evidence that supports the prevention of excessive pregnancy weight gain and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM).
Method: We examined the literature on eating patterns and pregnancy outcomes to identify how the current NHMRC ‘Eat for Health’ Pregnancy food group recommendations and the Ministry for Health New Zealand ‘Eating for Healthy Pregnant Women’ food group guidelines compare. We then remodelled the food group recommendations to incorporate this new information.
Results: Since the national guidelines were published, there has been a leap in research studying eating patterns in pregnancy outcomes including gestational diabetes mellitus. This includes positive results for the Mediterranean style eating pattern, The Nordic style eating pattern, DASH diet and fish intake, and further information about the detriments of high sugar, high trans-fat processed foods and processed meats. In remodelling the food group recommendations we have come up with separate guidelines for the first and later trimesters taking into account changing nutritional needs over the course of pregnancy and provided specific information to include healthy fats, fish, greater intake of plant proteins, in addition to the other core food groups.
Conclusion: We have remodelled pregnancy food group recommendations to meet women’s needs. These also incorporate the current research on eating patterns that have been found to decrease excessive weight gain in pregnancy and rates of GDM.