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Care by Midwives, Obstetricians, and Dietitians for Pregnant Women Following a Strict Plant-Based Diet: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Máxima Medical Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 5500 MB Veldhoven, The Netherlands
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Maastricht University Medical Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, GROW School of Oncology and Developmental Biology, P. Debyelaan 25, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
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Department of Health Promotion, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
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Department Internal Medicine, Division Gastroenterology-Hepatology, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Louise Brough
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2394; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072394
Received: 28 May 2021 / Revised: 29 June 2021 / Accepted: 5 July 2021 / Published: 13 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition in Women)
With an growing number of people on a strict plant-based diet, its potential effect on pregnancy and lactation becomes increasingly important. It is, however, unclear how obstetric caregivers currently handle and think about a strict plant-based diet in pregnancy. The aim of the study was therefore to evaluate the self-reported knowledge and advice given by Dutch obstetric caregivers and dietitians when treating pregnant women on a strict plant-based diet. A cross-sectional study was performed by sending an online survey to Dutch midwife practices, obstetricians, and dietitian practices. Descriptive statistics are reported. A total of 121 midwives, 179 obstetricians, and 111 dietitians participated in this study. The majority of midwives (80.2%) and obstetricians (93.9%) considered a strict plant-based diet to be a significant risk factor for nutrient deficiency during pregnancy. Maternal dietary preferences, including a potential strict plant-based diet, were discussed at the first prenatal appointment by 59.5% of midwives and 24.1% of obstetricians. A self-reported lack of knowledge concerning the strict plant-based diet was mentioned by 66.1% of midwives and 75.4% of obstetricians. Obstetric caregivers mostly considered the identification of this dietary habit and subsequent referral to a dietitian or a reliable website as optimal care for pregnant women on the strict plant-based diet. However, only 38.7% of dietitians indicated to have sufficient knowledge to counsel these women. Although obstetric caregivers thought that a strict plant-based diet in pregnancy may lead to increased risks of nutritional deficiencies, the majority report to have insufficient knowledge to provide adequate advice. Only a minority referred these women to dietitians, of whom a minority indicated to have adequate knowledge on this specific diet. These results suggest that current care is suboptimal for an increasing number of pregnant women. Women on a strict plant-based diet could benefit from increased knowledge about this topic among obstetric caregivers and dietitians, as well as from clear guidelines regarding this diet during pregnancy. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant-based; vegan; obstetric care; diet; pregnancy; lactation dietitian; midwife; obstetrician; counseling plant-based; vegan; obstetric care; diet; pregnancy; lactation dietitian; midwife; obstetrician; counseling
MDPI and ACS Style

Meulenbroeks, D.; Versmissen, I.; Prins, N.; Jonkers, D.; Gubbels, J.; Scheepers, H. Care by Midwives, Obstetricians, and Dietitians for Pregnant Women Following a Strict Plant-Based Diet: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2394. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072394

AMA Style

Meulenbroeks D, Versmissen I, Prins N, Jonkers D, Gubbels J, Scheepers H. Care by Midwives, Obstetricians, and Dietitians for Pregnant Women Following a Strict Plant-Based Diet: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2021; 13(7):2394. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072394

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meulenbroeks, Deidre, Isabel Versmissen, Nanique Prins, Daisy Jonkers, Jessica Gubbels, and Hubertina Scheepers. 2021. "Care by Midwives, Obstetricians, and Dietitians for Pregnant Women Following a Strict Plant-Based Diet: A Cross-Sectional Study" Nutrients 13, no. 7: 2394. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072394

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