National Nutrition Month® is celebrated each March. It is a great time to reflect on healthy food choices and regular physical activity habits for your members. The message of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the year is to Celebrate a World of Flavors.
Expecting a baby can be a very joyful time! However, it can also be stressful for women with pre-existing conditions or other conditions that may develop during pregnancy. Fortunately, a health plan can take steps to help to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery for its high-risk members.
Receiving proper prenatal care is the first step. Regular visits to an obstetrician are necessary to ensure good fetal development and the health of the mother.
One way to stay healthy is through a proper diet. Good nutrition during pregnancy can lower the risk for poor maternal and child outcomes, including low birth rates and premature delivery. Healthy meals are vital for those who experience high-risk pregnancies, including those managing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
Proper maternal health is essential for:
- Healthy blood pressure, weight, and wellness
- Reducing preterm labor
- Avoiding NICU admissions
- Overall lower maternal pre and postnatal costs
Medical Nutrition Therapy
Some health care plans may offer their members telehealth Medical Nutrition Therapy. These sessions partner women with a Registered Dietitian (RD) during pregnancy and when they return home from the hospital. The RD will educate the member in selecting, preparing, and eating appropriate food for their condition. They can also recommend a medically tailored meal plan to fit the unique prenatal and postnatal needs. Medically tailored meals help to manage existing conditions to treat those that can occur during pregnancy.
Common chronic conditions that may occur during pregnancy are:
- Cardiovascular Disease
Offering a home-delivered meals program to expectant mothers is a simple way to address the Social Determinants of Health, including food insecurity, help to encourage breastfeeding, and reducing preterm births. Providing nourishment to high-risk mothers can help reduce NICU and overall healthcare costs.
Click below to learn more about GA Foods' KickStart Maternal Health program.