Maine WIC Nutrition Program
Pregnant Women Nutrition Assessment Guidance
? If prepregnancy weight is unknown, do the following:
-- Visually assess woman’s weight status category. Use professional judgment to decide if she
was most likely underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese prior to conception. -- Determine exact number of weeks gestation. Using the prenatal weight grid, determine the expected weight gain (mid-point) for that number of weeks gestation for a woman in her weight category. Weight Gain -- Subtract the expected weight gain from the woman’s current weight. This is an estimate of
? Record weight obtained at each clinic visit, along with weeks gestation and total of pounds gained
? To calculate pounds/month gained, use the following formula:
Today’s weight – prenatal weight / weeks gestation = lbs gained/week X 4.3 = lbs gained/mo.
? Assess if weight gain is within normal limits (WNL). Weight gain will be within normal limits if her
weight gain plots between the lines on the prenatal weight gain grid which correspond to her prenatal
weight category (based on prepregnancy BMI). Weight gain will not be WNL for the following:
Low maternal weight gain: Assign risk factor A5 if weight gain is:
< 1 lb per month for women with pre-pregnancy BMI > 29.0
< 2 lb per month for women with pre-pregnancy BMI 26.1-29.0
< 4 lb per month for women with pre-pregnancy BMI < 19.8
High maternal weight gain: Assign risk factor A7 if weight gain is >7 lb/month.
Maternal weight loss: Assign risk factor A6 if woman has any weight loss below prenatal ndrdweight during the first trimester OR if there is weight loss of >2 lbs. in the 2 or 3 trimesters.
? Discuss recommended weight gain with pregnant woman. Ask what her feelings are about the
weight gain recommendations. Assess whether or not she is comfortable with the weight gain goals. Ask ―How do you feel about the idea of gaining this amount of weight?‖ Discuss woman’s efforts to keep weight gain within normal limits. ? If she was pregnant before, find out what her weight gain was for previous pregnancy(ies). ? If she desires to limit weight gain, reinforce the need for adequate weight gain during pregnancy for
the health of the baby, and refer her to MD to talk about the need for adequate weight gain for baby’s
growth. ? If prepregnancy BMI is high and/or she has a high rate of weight gain for weeks gestation, or if she Weight gained more than the recommended weight in a previous pregnancy, discuss the implications: Management --weight gained during pregnancy may become weight she will have difficulty losing after her
pregnancy, increasing the risk of later overweight/obesity.
--high rate of weight gain increases the risk for having a high birth weight infant. This can lead to
--Discuss strategies for increasing nutrient-rich foods while limiting empty calorie foods in her diet.
Examples include: substitute soda with 1% or skim milk; replace empty calorie snacks such
as chips or candy bars with fresh fruit or vegetables; replace fried food items with baked or
broiled foods; increase vegetable intake at meals with salads, stir fry, or cut up vegetables.
? Ask if she is physically active.
--If she is currently physically active, ask about preferred activities and how often she does them.
Advise her to consult with her physician about her physical activity (PA) plans if she has not already
--If she is not physically active, explain that, according to the American College of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, pregnant women can and should try to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes on
most, if not all, days unless there are medical reasons to avoid it (such as risks of preterm labor or if
mother suffers from serious ailment).
--The benefits of exercise include: ? Stronger muscles, bones and joints ? Calories burned increase, helping to prevent weight gain ? Lower risk of premature death, heart disease and other serious illnesses as the woman gets older if she exercises regularly ? She will feel better physically and emotionally
? May help to prevent gestational diabetes ? For those with gestational diabetes, blood sugars may be easier to control ? Stress relief ? Increased stamina needed for labor and delivery ? Regular exercise habits may help her to cope better in the postpartum period
She should not start a new exercise program or increase PA before the 14Weight th week or after the Management th 28 week of her pregnancy. Before week 14, overheating may adversely affect the (con’t) development of the neural tube. After week 28, the baby must compete for oxygen and
glucose if she overexerts herself. Encourage her to choose things she will enjoy—suggest
walking, dancing, hiking, swimming, or aerobics or yoga classes specifically for pregnant women.
Stress that she should increase her level of activity gradually (start 15 min. 3 times/week, progress
to 15-30 min 4-5 times/week, avoid exercising in warm, humid places, and drink plenty of fluids
before, during and after PA. A variety of activity may help increase her motivation to keep with it.
Stress avoidance of sports that carry a high risk of injury (like downhill skiing, ice hockey, or
horseback riding). Pregnant women should never scuba dive, since this can cause the dangerous
formation of gas bubbles in the baby’s circulatory system. After the third month, it is important to
avoid exercises that require her to lie flat on her back, since that can restrict the flow of blood to the
uterus. If she experiences any problems at all while exercising (like vaginal bleeding,
dizziness, headache, chest pain, decreased fetal movement, pain or contractions, she should
stop right away and consult her physician.
? For more information on physical activity guidelines for pregnant women, consult any of the following
? Find out how eating has changed since the woman has become pregnant.
? If 24-hour intake is used to assess normal food intake, comment on findings. ? Discuss cravings. Emphasize that cravings are normal and that they are different for every woman. Give reassurance that some days food intake will be better than others, and that she should strive to eat to the best of her ability on most days. ? Find out if non-food items are an issue. Ask “Often pregnant women have cravings for non-food items. Have you experienced anything like that?” If pica (ingestion of non-food items such as
ice, dirt, clay, cornstarch, laundry soap or starch, ashes, paint chips, baking soda, paper), reassure her that this is not unusual and that it may be a sign of dietary deficiencies. Encourage replacement Diet behaviors, including: when craving a non-food item, try chewing sugarless gum, take a short walk or read to a child; or try freezing fruit juice cubes to chew instead of ice. Refer woman to physician if needed.
? Offer strategies that may assist her in improving dietary quality. Some examples include:
--if she has difficulty getting 3 glasses of milk per day, encourage dairy products intake in different
forms, including flavored milk, smoothies, yogurt, with cereal, or as a bedtime snack with graham
--if vegetables are not a favorite, talk about eating a variety of colors. Include salads with several
colored veggies; shred vegetables into casseroles; try home made vegetable soups; snack on cut
--include fresh fruits for snacks.
--look for whole grain items, including cereals with whole grains, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
? Ask about prenatal vitamin intake. If not using a prenatal vitamin, ask about brand of vitamin used.
Discuss need for adequate vitamin/mineral intake during pregnancy and the need to use a prenatal supplement. If woman cannot tolerate prenatal because of nausea, suggest taking the supplement before bedtime, or ? in the morning and ? in the evening at bedtime. If she reports taking children’s vitamins, it is necessary to find out the specific one she is using in order to assess adequacy (specifically iron and folic acid levels). Refer woman to discuss prenatal vitamin usage with her
? Ask about use of any other supplements, including herbal preparations and teas. Refer to the NIH website http://nccam.nih.gov/health/supplements.htm to get information on specific herbal supplements and their safety for use in pregnancy. ? Ask about any prescribed medications—record name of medication and dosage. Ask what the medication(s) have been prescribed for, and fill in the medical condition in “Problems with” section.
Refer to Medications and Mother’s Milk or the University of Rochester hotline (585-275-0088—call
and leave message if necessary; someone will call you back) to find out if medication is contraindicated in pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. Women receiving methadone therapy can breastfeed. Assessment of the individual situation—maternal HIV status, her mental health status, her social situation, and whether or not she is stable in her recovery program, will need to be Health considered when recommending breastfeeding. Refer physicians to the AAP paper ―The Transfer of
Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk (PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 3 September 2001, pp. 776-789) for more information. ? Ask about other medical problems listed: ? Heartburn: refer woman to discuss antacid use with physician. Suggest the following: 5-6 small frequent meals throughout the day; eat slowly; avoid eating close to bedtime or lying down shortly after eating, avoid spicy, rich or greasy foods; when sleeping, use pillows under
the shoulders to keep the upper body propped up; wear loose clothing.
? Nausea/vomiting: Reassure that this is very common during the first trimester. Assess
severity and refer to physician if the woman is unable to eat sufficiently to gain weight or is
losing weight, or vomiting more than 3-4 times/day. Offer specific strategies that may help:
get out of bed slowly in the morning; keep crackers or dry cereal at the bedside to eat before
getting up; eat small amounts frequently, even every 2-3 hours; drink a lot of fluids,
especially if solid food will not stay down; avoid cooking smells, foods with strong odors or
highly spiced foods, or any other odors that lead to nausea; avoid brushing teeth
immediately after eating, as this may lead to vomiting.
? Constipation: recommend woman increase water intake (10-12 cups/day) as well as fresh
fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake. Ask about physical activity and encourage she
increase after discussing with MD. Avoid laxative use unless recommended by MD.
? Headaches: refer to physician. Emphasize the need for adequate rest, plenty of liquids as
well as frequent well-balanced meals. Headaches in the third trimester may be indicative of
high blood pressure, so emphasize need for woman to notify MD.
? Dizziness: refer to MD. Emphasize need for adequate food and liquids, and to eat
frequently, avoiding long periods of time between meals; avoid hot baths or showers; do not
stand in one place for long periods of time; if standing is required, make sure to keep feet
moving to increase circulation; get up slowly when lying down; do not lie down on back after
middle of 2
nd trimester; wear loose comfortable clothing that will not constrict circulation.
? Swallowing difficulties: ask what types of foods/beverages she is able to consume; refer to
physician if special formula required for adequate nutrition.
? Ask if there are any other medical problems. List medical conditions not specified above for
which medications have been prescribed.
? Ask at each visit: “Are there any other medical conditions affecting your overall
? Ask if special diet has been prescribed by physician. If so, find out what diet prescription is. Refer to
RD as needed. If being followed by RD, request nutrition plan in order to offer consistent support.
? Approach smoking issues using the 3 A’s:
--Ask about tobacco use. If woman is smoking, ask if smoking has changed since she found out about being pregnant. Preterm --Advise all pregnant women who smoke to stop smoking. Begin the discussion by saying “The Birth Risks recommendation for you and your baby is for you to quit smoking.” Focus on her barriers to quitting—for example, increased food cravings, weight gain, or being around others who smoke. Emphasize the benefits for both her and her baby, including: more energy; able to breathe more easily; more money to spend on other things; clothes, hair, home will smell better; food will taste better; less risk for low birth weight/preterm baby (specify dangers of babies being born too early and/or too small—undeveloped lungs, potentially lengthy hospitalization after delivery); less risk for
her baby of SIDS and asthma; she will feel good that she has done this for herself and her baby. --Assist her with a cessation plan—provide support, self-help materials and referrals for other support, including the Maine Tobacco Helpline (800-207-1230). Follow up at each visit. ? If exposed to second hand smoke, discuss need to have all smoke to stay outside the home. Also advise woman that all smokers must wash hands and change clothes prior to holding baby to avoid Perterm exposing infant to second hand smoke.
? Ask about date of last dental visit, and if woman has problems with decay or bleeding gums. Discuss Birth Risks
poor oral health link with preterm birth risk. Refer to dental provider. Review things she can do to (con’t) improve the condition of her gums and overall oral health, including: brush at least twice a day with a
fluoride toothpaste, being sure to reach all tooth surfaces as well as her tongue; floss at least once
each day. It is normal for gums to become more sensitive during pregnancy. This is a result of the
hormone changes and the resulting reaction to plaque in her mouth. If she has never flossed before,
or flossed infrequently, her gums may be sore and bleed—that’s normal. If she has brushed
infrequently in the past, her gums may be sore and bleed when she begins to brush more
frequently—that’s normal. Things will improve over time. Mouthwashes and rinses are not a
substitute for brushing and/or flossing. Encourage her to change to a new toothbrush every 3-4
months, or sooner if bristles begin to fray.
? Inquire about alcohol use and if woman is around others who drink, since being around others who drink can make it difficult for the woman to abstain. If there is any alcohol use, discuss risk of Fetal Other Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Emphasize that no amount of alcohol is safe. Refer to Risks substance abuse counselor as needed.
? FASD includes an entire spectrum of potential disorders, including: prenatal and postnatal growth
retardation; characteristic facial features; central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction; learning
disabilities; problems with memory, attention and judgment; hyperactivity and behavioral problems.
Prenatal alcohol use does not always result in FASD, but there is no way of knowing which babies
will be born with problems. Some babies will exhibit no symptoms, others may have mild symptoms,
while others will have many problems. A baby will never outgrow FASD—it will be with the child for a lifetime. This disorder is 100% preventable. Refer her to The Women’s Project as needed.
? Ask about use of street drugs. If any drugs are being used, ask about plans/thoughts to D/C. Refer to recovery/rehab program as needed. See Health section for information on methadone treatment
? Ask woman’s knowledge about breastfeeding—what she has heard, read or knows about it. Ask
about her perceptions—what she thinks about breastfeeding. Ask ―What do you know about BF? How do you feel about that for yourself?‖ If she has had children before, ask ―What personal BF breastfeeding experience do you have?” Frequently, knowledge and perception are very different. It is perceptions that are important and will guide a woman in the decision-making process. ? Find out if she has family members or friend(s) with any positive BF experiences. Emphasize that
anyone within her family circle or circle of friends can be a good support person if they have had a
? Ask if she wants to learn more about BF so that she may make an informed decision about infant
feeding. This will help you to understand her readiness to change, especially if she is closed to the idea of breastfeeding her baby—pre-contemplating (doesn’t want any information), contemplating (will think about it and will be willing to take information), preparation (wants information, ready to read whatever you will give her).
? Record topics discussed. There may be several things checked off in the various sections, but the
counselor chooses to limit the discussion to avoid overloading the participant. It is recommended that discussions be limited to three topics or less. Remember that assessments initially done in stthe 1 trimester will cover different topics than those done in the third trimester. Notes ? Ask about infant feeding plan at each visit.
? Mom’s plans—let the participant set realistic goals for herself between the first and second visit.
Increase milk intake to 3-8 ounce glasses/day.
Use milk in cereal, smoothies, cooking, etc. in order to increase Ca intake.
Consider BF as infant feeding option.
Call Tobacco Help Line for help with d/c smoking.
Brush and floss twice daily; call dentist for cleaning appt.
Limit low-nutrient foods (such as soda, candy, etc.) in diet.
It is acceptable if woman does NOT decide on a plan—it’s ok to leave this blank! ? Make a note what should be followed up at the next appt.
Maine WIC Nutrition Program
BF/PP Woman Nutrition Assessment Guidance
? Ask woman her thoughts about her current weight. State: “After delivery, women are frequently
concerned about their weight. How do you feel about your current weight?‖ If she desires a change ask ―What change with your weight would you like to see happen?‖ If her current BMI is high and she does not desire a change, she is precomtemplative—respect for that is Weight important.
? If she desires a change, ask what her weight goal is, and how she hopes to achieve it. Ask if she
needs ideas or suggestions to achieve her goal and provide appropriate resources. ? Ask about physical activity—type and frequency. Remind her to discuss any physical activity plans
with her MD if she is <6 weeks PP.
? Ask what changes have been made in diet since delivery. Many common things that happen to
moms after delivery include: grazing, skipping meals, preparing unbalanced meals due to lack of time to cook and “forgetting” to eat. Provide her with appropriate tips for improved nutrition, including: smoothies; cereal with milk and fruit; cheese and crackers; cut up vegetables; toast with peanut butter; hummus with crackers. Remind her that her body needs a balanced diet to recover and heal from pregnancy/delivery. ? Query about special diet Rx or foods that are being avoided. Diet ? If 24 hour recall is used to assess normal intake, comment on findings. ? Ask about habits that will lead to healthy feeding relationships with child/children:
? Ask about family meals. Discuss importance they play in good eating habits for children.
? Ask how she plans for meals and snacks. Discuss how important planning is in ensuring healthy
habits and food budgeting.
? Query about variety of foods—Ask a question such as ―What are the vegetables you usually eat
during a typical week?” Discuss need for including a variety of colors with fruits and vegetables.
? Ask about folic acid intake. Discuss sources of adequate folic acid, which can come from
supplements or foods. Point out the WIC cereals that contain 100% DV folic acid, which are identified on the foods list with and asterisk (*). Discuss folic acid’s role in possibly preventing birth defects, and the need to consume adequate folic acid to protect future pregnancies. ? Ask about other vitamin or supplement intake, including herbal supplements. Refer to the NIH website http://nccam.nih.gov/health/, Medications and Mothers’ Milk or University of Rochester
hotline (585-275-0088—leave message if necessary and someone will call you back) for
information of specific supplements and their compatibility with breastfeeding. ? Query about prescribed medications. If BF, consult Medications and Mothers’ Milk or University of Rochester hotline (585-275-0088—leave message if necessary) to identify any meds that are contraindicated for BF women. Ask about birth control; advise breastfeeding women to talk to Health their doctor about progesterone-only birth control pills if that is the birth control chosen.
Women receiving methadone therapy can breastfeed. Assessment of the individual situation—
maternal HIV status, her mental health status, her social situation, and whether or not she is stable
in her recovery program, will need to be considered when recommending breastfeeding. Refer
physicians to the AAP paper ―The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk
(PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 3 September 2001, pp. 776-789) for more information. ? Ask if woman had a C-section this delivery. If yes, ask if there are any problems with healing of the
incision. Refer to MD as necessary.
? Ask about date of last dental visit, and if she has any problems with decay and/or bleeding gums
when she brushes. Discuss need for good oral health of mother to help prevent transmission of
decay-causing bacteria to baby. Emphasize the need to avoid practices that will lead to
transfer of bacteria to baby’s mouth, including: cleaning pacifier’s in the mouth; testing
baby’s food temperature before feeding; sharing spoons, cups and other utensils; kissing
baby’s hands and mouth. Refer to dental provider as needed.
? Ask about other health problems listed:
? Diarrhea: ask about frequency and duration. Remind about need for adequate fluid intake. Refer to MD if needed. Health ? Constipation: discuss need for adequate fluids and fiber-rich foods. Refer to MD if (con’t) needed
? If headaches or dizziness are a problem, refer to MD. Emphasize need for adequate
liquids as well as regular meals.
? Ask about tobacco use, and desire and/or plans to quit. Ask about methods to quit that have
been used. Refer to Tobacco Help Line(800-207-1230) for assistance and support. ? Ask about second hand smoke exposure. If woman is a smoker, emphasize that it will be more difficult to quit with other smokers around. Discuss need for smoke-free environment for baby. Stress that second hand smoke will stay on clothing and hand, and that all smokers Substance should change clothes and wash hands prior to holding baby. ? Ask about alcohol use. If BF, remind mom that alcohol passes into breastmilk and will have Abuse an effect on baby. If woman is around others who drink, ask how being around others who
drink makes her feel. Offer referral brochure to Women’s Project if she has an interest. If
she has other questions, discuss risk of FASD for future pregnancies and the need to avoid
alcohol use, and the fact that it may be difficult to stay sober if she is around others who
? If any street drugs are being used, refer to recovery program. ? Ask mom what her breastfeeding duration plans are, and who she has for support.
? Ask her about any plans to return to work or school, and how she will plan to feed her baby. Discuss pumping if needed, including type of pump to meet her needs. ? Ask mom about her perception of how breastfeeding is going. If she needs help, ask what specific problems she is having. If necessary, refer her to CLC or IBCLC in agency/area. ? Ask mom about her perception of her milk supply (subjective). Ask specific questions about breastfeeding (objective) that will help to validate milk supply:
? Ask how often baby is breastfeeding in 24 hours. ? Ask how long baby stays at breast at each feeding, and ask about active Breastfeeding suck/swallowing at feedings if baby stays at the breast for extended periods of time.
? Ask about the number of wet/dirty diapers per day and assess for adequacy.
? Ask if mom pumps. If she does, ask what type of pump she is using, how often she
is pumping, and what her results are. If she is exclusively pumping, ask about plans
to get baby to go to breast. Refer to CLC or IBCLC as needed.
? Ask if baby has been weighed since discharge from hospital, and what that weight
was. Compare to weight obtained at clinic visit. ? If there are specific breastfeeding problems detected, SOAP note the visit and refer as
? Query if there are any of the problems listed. Refer to lactation help (CLC or IBCLC) if
Women Health Assessment Form
Question Suggested Action Woman’s physician/dentist If no MD—refer to local hospital physician referral service
If no dentist—refer to area clinics.
Health Insurance If none, refer to MaineCare
What services do you currently receive? Enter appropriate code in “Other Services” field.
If yes to either question is selected— Do you live in or spend time in a home built
before 1978? ? Discuss risk for lead exposure and importance of lead testing of If yes, is the home being remodeled? baby at 12 and 24 months
? Share ways to reduce lead exposure: frequent wet, rather than
dry, dust removal; paint over peeling paint; remove shoes at
door; keep paint chips away from young children.
If yes selected— Were there any days last month when your
family did not have enough food to eat or Give referral information for area resources, including Food Stamps,
enough money to buy food? Food Banks and/or the SHARE program.
If yes is selected— Do you have problems refrigerating or
heating/cooking your food? ? Adjust food package accordingly
Refer to area resources for assistance
If yes selected, refer to area shelters for women. Do you feel unsafe for yourself or your children
in your current relationship?
For those who have been pregnant before: If yes, assign appropriate risk code. Did you have problems during any pregnancy
Were any of your babies:
? Stillborn ? assign risk factor P8
? Born early/premature ? assign risk factor P7 if baby born >3 weeks early
? Weigh 5 lb 8 oz or less at birth ? assign risk factor P7
? Weigh 9 lb or more at birth ? assign risk factor P6
For those who have recently given birth: If yes, assign appropriate risk code. Did you have problems during this pregnancy
Over the past 2 weeks, have you ever felt Stress that it is normal for women to experience changes in mood after
delivery. See attached reference from National Mental Health down, depressed, or hopeless?
Association or go to Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt little
interest or pleasure in doing things? http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF956C-1372-4D20-
C88192E11CCAA8E4 for more information. Refer to MD or area
mental health provider as needed.