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Nutrition & Dietetics Department

Department of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics

Contact details:

Department of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics

National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin 2

Eircode: D02 YH21

Tel: 01 637 3314

Contact hours: Monday – Thursday (8:00 – 16.00) and Friday (08.00 - 15.30)

 

Who are we?

There are four dietitians in the department.

  • Sinéad Curran – part time (Dietitian in maternity & women’s health / manager) 
  • Hilary Devine (Dietitian in diabetes)
  • Laura Harrington (Dietitian in maternity & women’s health and diabetes)
  • Roberta McCarthy (Dietitian for neonatology service / manager)

An administrator works in the department part-time.

  • Helen McCrimmon (Administrator)

 

What do we do?

Dietitians assess medical and nutritional needs of patients, identify any areas of concern and offer support to help people make diet and lifestyle changes when needed.  Dietitians work as part of multidisciplinary teams and link with other health professionals and services involved in your (or your baby’s) care.

The dietetic service is available for women and babies under the care of the National Maternity Hospital.  You can get advice from our dietitians through:

  • Classes that provide nutrition information for you or your baby; or
  • Booked appointments if referred by hospital staff for individual or group dietetic management.

 

Maternity Services & Women’s Health

The dietitians working in maternity & women’s health mainly advise on nutrition in pregnancy. This service includes:

Early Pregnancy Class – provided by a midwife, physiotherapist and dietitian.  This class provides useful information on what to expect when you are pregnant, plus tips on healthy eating and physical activity.

  • For who? Recommended for all pregnant women. Very useful for women attending the hospital with general questions or concerns about nutrition during pregnancy. This class is most useful up to 20 weeks of your pregnancy but you are welcome at any stage of your pregnancy. Partners or parents are welcome too.
  • How? No booking or referral is needed – just arrive. You can attend this class before you attend your first antenatal clinic appointment.
  • When? Every Wednesday from 1:30 - 2:45pm
  • Where? 65/66 Lower Mount Street, 1st floor lecture theatre

 

‘Tús Maith’(‘A Good Start’) Class – group session provided by a dietitian. This informal class provides useful information and support for women starting pregnancy with a high body weight.  Topics covered include preparing for pregnancy, eating well, staying active and breastfeeding. You will also get printed guides to healthy eating, recipes and snacks.  

  • For who?  Women starting pregnancy with a high body weight / body mass index (BMI >25kg/m2).
  • How?  You need to book this class. Ask your hospital doctor, midwife or dietitian to refer you to the ‘Tús Maith’ (‘A Good Start’) class, or contact the dietetic service directly to book a place (see contact details above).  You will be sent a letter with a date and time for your class.
  • When?  The class is held every 6 weeks and lasts approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Where?  65/66 Lower Mount Street, 1st floor lecture theatre.

If you would like an individual appointment with a dietitian after you have attended the class, please let the dietitian know on the day or contact our department administrator and we will arrange it for you.

 

Individual out-patient appointments and  in-patient consultations

  • For who? Women with a specific issue that need a dietary assessment or individual advice on nutrition, for example:
    • If you have been very sick and are not managing to eat or drink i.e. hyperemesis
    • If you are a teenager and still growing yourself
    • If you were on a special diet before pregnancy or have special medical needs (e.g. a metabolic disorder such as PKU, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) or previous surgery on your stomach or bowel)
    • If you are underweight or not gaining enough weight
    • If you are overweight or gaining too much weight
    • If you have low levels of important nutrients (e.g. anaemia, low vitamin or mineral levels)
    • If you have a history of an illness or condition that might have an effect on your nourishment
    • Your unborn baby is not growing as expected
  • How?  Your obstetrician or midwife needs to send a written referral to the dietetic service.
  • When?  A dietitian will arrange to meet with you either during your hospital stay or you will be offered an out-patient appointment.
  • Where?  Details will be on your appointment letter which is sent to your home address.

 

Diabetes

The dietitians working with the diabetes service provide dietary advice and support for women during pregnancy who have diabetes before pregnancy, either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and for women who develop diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes (GDM)) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (high blood glucose (sugar) levels).  This service includes:

Lifestyle Class for women with GDM or IGT during pregnancy – provided by a diabetes nurse specialist and dietitian.  This class provides information and support on how to look after GDM and IGT and includes information on understanding GDM and IGT and what to eat.

  • For who?  Women diagnosed with GDM or IGT during this pregnancy or during their last pregnancy.
  • How?  If your blood test shows that you have high blood glucose levels you will be contacted to invite you to attend this class.  If you had GDM or IGT in a previous pregnancy, please contact the dietetic department as soon as you confirm that you are pregnant again to arrange.
  • When?  Tuesday from 9.30am-12.30pm.  This is not a ‘drop-in’ class.   Women with GDM or IGT will be given a date for the class.
  • Where?  65/66 Lower Mount Street, 2nd floor class room.

 

Individual booked out-patient appointments and in-patient consultations

  • For who?  Women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
  • How?  When you book into the hospital, the diabetes team will refer you to the dietitian.
  • When?  We see women who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes as soon as possible after they book into the hospital and work closely with them throughout their pregnancy.  We will arrange an out-patient appointment or meet with you during your hospital stay.
  • Where?  Details will be on your appointment letter which is sent to your home address.

 

Diabetes Clinic Dietitian

  • For who? All women who have Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes or who are diagnosed with GDM during pregnancy that have an appointment with a dietitian.
  • How?  You will be sent an appointment letter with details if it arranged for you to see the dietitian as part of your visit at the clinic.
  • When?  Friday morning during the diabetes clinic – details will be in the appointment letter.
  • Where?  Out-patient department of the hospital.

 

Neonatology Service for Babies

The dietitian working with the Neonatology Service provides specialist advice on nutrition for babies. The service is provided as individual in-patient or out-patient consultations.  This service is only available for babies under the care of a hospital consultant and referrals can only be accepted from hospital staff.

  • For who? Babies with a specific nutritional issue or concern about their growth while in the neonatal unit or attending the out-patient baby clinic under the care of a hospital consultant.
  • How?  Your baby’s hospital doctor or nurse can refer your baby to the dietitian if there concern about their nutrition or growth.
  • When?  The dietitian will review your baby either during their hospital stay or will offer an out-patient appointment / consultation.
  • Where?  If your baby is offered an out-patient appointment, details will be on the appointment letter.

If you are concerned about your baby’s nutrition or growth or if you have questions about feeding your baby after they go home from the hospital, contact your baby’s local public health nurse or GP for advice.  They may be able to refer your baby to a community based dietetic service, or if necessary they may refer your baby to a hospital clinic which may then refer your baby to the hospital dietitian.

The Hospital Dietitian is only available for babies under the care of a hospital consultant and referral can only be accepted from hospital staff.

 

Post-natal and post discharge from the hospital

There is no routine postnatal dietitian service for mothers or healthy full-term babies or for mothers or babies who have been discharged from the hospital or who are no longer under the care of a hospital consultant.

After you (your baby) are discharged from the hospital, care is available in the community through your GP.  There are community based dietitians available in some areas – check with your GP about a referral.

There are also dietitians who see patients privately.  These dietitians are not linked with the hospital.  If you would like to arrange an appointment with a private dietitian, there is a list of appropriately qualified dietitians available on the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute website https://www.indi.ie/

You may also find the list of resources below helpful.

 

Nutrition Resources Available

 

Nutrition for you and all your family
Healthy Ireland- Healthy Food for Life Information and advice on all aspects of healthy living. Healthy eating guidelines, factsheets and guidance on alcohol, smoking, mental health & exercise for all ages and life stages.  http://www.healthyireland.ie/health-initiatives/heg/
Health Service Executive – Health Promotion Unit Provides information on all aspects of health including nutrition and breastfeeding.  https://www.healthpromotion.ie/
Health Service Executive – Healthy Food Made Easy A community based nutrition and cooking programme. Ideal for the pre and post-natal period.  Aims to encourage healthy eating, improve knowledge of nutrition and when preparing meals on a budget at home. Run in South Dublin by the Southside Partnership (01 706 0113) and in North Dublin by the Northside Partnership (01 832 0995) and the Blanchardstown Partnership (01 820 9550).
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute The professional organisation for dietitians in Ireland.  Provides factsheets on nutrition and a list of private dietitians in Ireland.  https://www.indi.ie/
Safefood An all-island body to promote awareness and knowledge of food safety and nutrition issues. Provides information on nutrition for all the family, food safety and recipes. http://www.safefood.eu
Bord Bia Irish food board.  Provides consumer information about different foods including nutrition advice booklets for babies, toddlers and women, guides on healthy eating, and recipes.  http://www.bordbia.ie/
Food Safety Authority of Ireland  A statutory science-based body.   Provides fact sheets and leaflets on food safety and nutrition related topics.  https://www.fsai.ie/

 

Nutrition information for babies
Health Service Executive Breastfeeding Support – website.  Provides information about breastfeeding for parents and families and includes a section on where to find support in your local area. https://www.breastfeeding.ie/
Health Service Executive Caring for your Baby and Child - website.  Provides a range of information, including the booklet ‘Caring for your baby 0-6 months’, to support parents as they travel through the early days and beyond. http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/child/

 

Nutrition information on obesity, diabetes, coeliac disease and eating disorders
Health Service Executive – PHEW A dietitian led community based course for people who are overweight.  Free 6 week programme.  Topics include healthy eating, how to shop wisely, achieving realistic weight loss, food and mood.  Held in both South and North Dublin. http://www.hse.ie/phew/
Safefood An all-island body that provides information on weight loss and free online monitoring, guidance and support.   http://weigh2live.safefood.eu/
Health Service Executive – X-PERT  a dietitian led course for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Free 6 week self-management programme. Ideal for learning about the post-natal management of Type 2 Diabetes.  http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/hl/living/diabetes/xpert/
Diabetes Ireland National charity helping people with diabetes.  Provides a range of information including advice on planning your pregnancy, gestational diabetes and breastfeeding. https://www.diabetes.ie/
Coeliac Society of Ireland national charity supporting people diagnosed with coeliac disease.  Provides information on gluten-free food and healthy gluten-free living.   https://www.coeliac-ireland.com/
Bodywhys Support agency for people and families affected by eating disorders. Provides information on eating disorders and how to get help.  Also operates a helpline and both face-to-face and online support groups. http://www.bodywhys.ie/
Irish Premature Babies Irish based charity providing help and support to the families of preterm babies.  Provides parent information booklets on a range of topics including weaning your premature baby. http://www.irishprematurebabies.com/

 

The following UK websites also provide useful information but please note that there may be some differences with Irish recommendations

Other Useful UK Websites
Bliss UK based charity dedicated to improving both the survival and long-term quality of life for babies born too soon, too small or too sick to cope on their own.  Provides parent information booklets on a range of topics including weaning your premature baby and expressing and breastfeeding your premature baby.   http://www.bliss.org.uk/
First Steps Nutrition Trust  UK based independent public health nutrition charity.  Provides information and resources to support eating well from pre-conception to five years.   http://www.firststepsnutrition.org/