Still work to be done says RCM Scotland on new Scottish maternal and infant nutrition report

By RCM on 21 February 2018 RCM Scotland Infant Feeding Public Health

Today the Scottish Government has published the 2017 Scottish Maternal and Infant Nutrition Survey report. Commenting on the report Mary Ross-Davie, Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Scotland, said: “The RCM welcomes this report, which gives us significantly more information about the important issues of maternal and infant nutrition in Scotland.

“The report shows that there is still work to do to support women in Scotland to improve their health before they become pregnant. This includes helping to ensure that women are aware of the benefits of going into pregnancy in the best possible health: through having a healthy weight, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and taking folic acid supplements.

“These messages need to start at home and in schools so that young women are aware of the benefits of maximising their own health for the benefit of their future children as well as for themselves.

“It also highlights the need for more support for women before they become pregnant, which means more investment in pre-conception care.

“I am encouraged to see that the numbers of women wishing to breastfeed and successfully breastfeeding continues to increase in Scotland.  However, inequalities between the least and most deprived women in our society persist, with women living with deprivation least likely to breastfeed. This highlights the need to continue and redouble our efforts to support women in all communities to understand the benefits of breastfeeding and to be supported to breastfeed if they chose to do so.

“The report highlights that the majority of women will experience some bumps in the road when they breastfeed. We are really encouraged to see that the great majority of these women who face challenges (89%) feel that they got the help and support they needed. This is testament to the great work that midwives, maternity support workers and peer supporters do across Scotland every day to support women to successfully breastfeed.

“It is of concern that around one quarter of women still describe being made to feel uncomfortable when needing to breastfeed their baby in a public place in Scotland. It is up to us all to ensure that women feel able to go about their daily lives with their babies and feed them when they need, wherever that be.  No woman should feel concerned about leaving the house with their baby because they are worried about where and when they can feed their baby.

“This is fundamentally a message about better public health, about encouraging a healthier population and about healthier babies who will be healthier adults.”

The report the ‘Scottish Government has published the 2017 Scottish Maternal and Infant Nutrition Survey’ can be read at

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Note to editors

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