When to See a Certified Nutritionist or Dietician during Pregnancy
As a lactation consultant it is important that you help expectant mothers understand the importance of nutrition during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. There are many misconceptions about the types of foods to consume or avoid. Many aversions and cravings start during pregnancy and can dictate the types of foods that a woman may or may not want consume. If a mother is especially sick during her pregnancy, you will have to provide suggestions for how she can keep nutrients in her body. Each mother will come to you with her own unique history, eating patterns and food beliefs. Your job is to provide information and suggestions that she can incorporate into her own unique lifestyle. In some instances, certain health situations may require you to refer your clients to certified nutritionists or registered/licensed dietitians. Here are two examples of cases that should be referred.
Assessing expectant mothers is an important first step as a lactation consultant. It is important to determine her body mass index (BMI). If her BMI is less than 19.8 or greater then 30, you should refer her to see a certified nutritionist or a registered/licensed dietician. You can calculate the body mass index by dividing her weight by her height squared.
Teenagers who are within less than four years of menarche should also be referred to a certified nutritionist or licensed dietitian. A nutritionist or dietitian can help teenage mothers receive the appropriate amount of iron and other nutrients they need to support their own growing bodies and the growth of a developing fetus.