The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) has launched a new healthy eating app, which aims to help women achieve optimum nutrition during pregnancy and beyond.
Hollestic provides up to 100 healthy meal and snack recipes, all of which are scientifically backed. It is free of charge and is available from both the App Store and the Google Playstore.
According to consultant obstetrician at the NMH and director of the UCD Perinatal Research Centre, Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe, apps like Hollestic are particularly important at this time because access to dietitians and antenatal classes continue to be restricted by COVID-19.
The app was trialled in an internationally recognised, randomised control study of over 500 pregnant women at the NMH. Following this study, it was upgraded to include more imagery, top tips for pregnancy and a baby size tracker.
Senior dietitian at the NMH, Dr Eileen O'Brien, said that the app is designed to "equip women with easy and nourishing recipes, which are enjoyable to cook".
"With the ever-increasing amount of pregnancy and nutritional advice available and the added challenges posed by COVID19, choosing three healthy meals and two to three snacks can be overwhelming, especially for new mums," she noted.
Dr O'Brien emphasised that the recipes have been approved by mothers, dietitians, obstetricians and midwives.
"Hollestic aims to act as a guide, support and motivator for women and their families, helping to ensure dietary needs are met during pregnancy and giving baby the best nutritional start in life," she said.
Current evidence suggests that what a woman consumes during pregnancy has a life-long impact on her child. An ideal diet during pregnancy includes a balance of wholegrain carbohydrates, plenty of different fruit and vegetables, lean protein sources (including red meat for iron and oily fish for omega 3), at least three sources of calcium-rich foods and limited confectionary.
Two daily supplements are also necessary as our diet does not provide enough - 400µg of folic acid and 10µg (400IU) of vitamin D.
According to the NMH's director of nursing and midwifery, Mary Brosnan, the new app "looks and works differently than existing pregnancy apps".
"It takes users through their pregnancy journey with a pregnancy tracker and tips specific to trimesters, while also boosting a vast number of beautifully photographed, nutritionally-dense recipes, which are backed by science," she commented.
For more information on the app, including how to download it, click here.
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