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Pregnant women in Scotland to receive free vitamins

1 June, 2016

Pregnant women in Scotland to receive free vitamins

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Folic acid supplements. Credit: Shutterstock

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to giving children the best start in life, all pregnant women will receive free vitamins by next spring.

Some pregnant women already receive free vitamins and the move to provide universal access will improve parent and children’s health and enjoys wide support among healthcare professionals.

Announcing the move today (1 June), Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgen said helping women enjoy a healthy pregnancy is a key part of the Scottish Government’s increased support for parents and children.

The Scottish Government is strengthening support for new parents, babies and children in other areas by giving every newborn a ‘baby box’ of essential items, to help all children to get the best start in life, as well as recruiting 500 more health visitors to help improve child health and wellbeing.

It is also extending the Family Nurse Partnership to support every new teenage mother, and doubling childcare to 30 hours a week for all three and four year olds and vulnerable two year olds.

Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘Every child deserves a fair and equal chance and offering all pregnant women vitamins sends a strong signal that, right from the very start of life, we are doing all we can to help.

‘There is strong evidence that taking vitamins in pregnancy improves both the mother and baby’s health and providing free vitamins, to all pregnant women, has the widespread support of healthcare professionals.

‘Within a year, every child born in Scotland will receive a baby box of essential items and I’m excited to be introducing it in Scotland. The baby box has a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents and we’ll shortly begin a dialogue with parents to gather their views on shaping its contents and the best way to deliver it.

‘To further improve child health and wellbeing, we’ll recruit 500 more health visitors, and we’ll transform the life chances of all of our children by doubling childcare entitlement for three and four year olds and vulnerable two year olds, thereby helping more parents, particularly mothers, into work.

‘We’ll also consider using new social security powers to introduce a maternity and early years allowance to tackle inequality and give financial support to low-income parents.’

RCM Scotland national officer Emma Currer said: 'The RCM welcomes the Scottish Government's commitment to investing in all pregnant women. As it is widely known, the lives of healthy children start from conception and this initiative, along with the other steps will support this.'
 

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