By Smitha Mundasad
Draft NICE guidelines say GPs and midwives should advise women about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight during and after pregnancy.
The new guidelines - out for consultation this week - aim to dispel popular myths about what and how much to eat during pregnancy and provide advice on health eating and physical exercise post-birth.
They advise GPs to 'use any opportunity' to provide women and their families with information on the health risks of being overweight or obese during pregnancy, and to assist women after birth to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health excellence at NICE, said 'In today's society women are bombarded by often conflicting advice on what constitutes a healthy diet and how much physical activity they should do during pregnancy and after birth
'There is no need to "eat for two" or to drink full-fat milk. It's important for women to understand that weight loss after birth takes time and that physical activity and gradual weight loss will not affect a woman's ability to breastfeed.
'Many overweight women have healthy babies, but the evidence does suggest that there are more risks associated with pregnancies in women who have a BMI over 30', he said.
The draft guideline is out for public consultation until 18 March 2010.GPs should tell pregnant women there is 'no need to eat for two' says NICE