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Erasmus MC Press Release Rotterdam, 22 August 2012

Everyone covered for Slimmer Zwanger

Achmea reimburses personal coaching on healthy diets and lifestyle habits around the time of pregnancy

The personal coaching program Slimmer Zwanger (Smarter Pregnancy), launched in January by Erasmus MC, has made a good start and has been positively evaluated by participants. More than a hundred expectant parents are currently being guided in learning and maintaining healthy diet and lifestyle habits by way of a website on their mobile phones and advice sent by text messaging or e-mail. As of today, Achmea will reimburse the costs of this service for everyone, not just those participants insured by Achmea.

Initial evaluation has shown that practically all expectant parents are positive about the use of Slimmer Zwanger. They indicate that they are now more aware of their diet and lifestyle habits. These healthy habits reduce the likelihood of infertility in women and men and also reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy and around the time of childbirth. Furthermore, they feel that Slimmer Zwanger really helps them.

As of June, chef Pierre Wind will provide all new users of Slimmer Zwanger with original, tailored recipes as a sort of reward. Cooking expert Pierre Wind is known for his innovative cuisine. Pierre has made ten unique recipes for Slimmer Zwanger. Wind: “Slimmer Zwanger is going to change the eating culture. In a positive sense.”
 
Drugstore chain Kruidvat will dispense a free bottle of folic acid tablets on the purchase of folic acid tablets to all new users not yet pregnant or pregnant for less than 12 weeks.

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits of expectant parents contribute to a reduced chance of becoming pregnant, an increased risk of birth defects and growth disorders in children and more problems related to childbirth. Unhealthy habits are not easy to change. Erasmus MC wants to make a positive contribution to this by way of Slimmer Zwanger (www.slimmerzwanger.nl). The program’s self-test can also be used by midwives, gynecologists, general practitioners and other care providers to identify points for improvement in diet and lifestyle habits of patients quickly and easily.

The program is an initiative of Prof. Régine Steegers-Theunissen, physician-epidemiologist at the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of Erasmus MC. Steegers: “There is certainly a need for Slimmer Zwanger, as there is almost nothing as difficult as changing unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. Slimmer Zwanger will not replace personal visits to physicians or midwives. We think it will give added value to people who may not live a particularly healthy life, but wish to do something about it.”

Participants can screen themselves via the website on their mobile phone or computer where details such as age, body mass index and various dietary and lifestyle risk factors are checked. Depending on the risk factors present, an individual coaching program is determined by way of a computer program and this program will periodically send text messages or e-mails by mobile phone with tips, facts and recipes. Steegers: “After the initial screening, four more screenings will take place every six weeks. The coaching program is adapted depending on whether someone is pregnant so that coaching remains tailor-made.”

Slimmer Zwanger is intended for all women and men wanting to have children. Achmea reimburses the costs for participating in Slimmer Zwanger for those insured by Achmea as well as those insured by other healthcare insurance companies.

See  www.slimmerzwanger.nl.

Erasmus MC is the largest and most authoritative scientific University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Almost 13,000 staff members work within the core tasks of patient care, education, and scientific research on the continuous improvement and enforcement of individual patient care and social healthcare. They develop high-level knowledge, pass this on to future professionals, and apply it in everyday patient care. Over the next five years, Erasmus MC wants to grow into one of the best medical institutes in the world. Erasmus MC is part of the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU): www.nfu.nl.

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