Why do prenatal programs in disadvantaged areas offer milk as a supplement?

Updated on: Mar 15, 2016

Milk is offered as a supplement to pregnant women because it is nutritious, accessible, has a low cost and responds particularly well to the characteristics of pregnancy.

Milk has many nutritional characteristics and qualities that make it a food of choice for pregnant women.


For many women, taking the liter of milk given to them as part of nutritional intervention is sufficient to meet the additional needs in energy, protein, vitamins B2, B12, D and phosphorus during pregnancy. Milk is also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin A and zinc. One liter of milk per day fills 100% of the calcium needs of pregnant women. Moreover, the protein and fat content of the milk brings satiety, which is not the case with other liquids. Thus, consuming milk helps regulate food intake and energy intake, in addition to helping control blood glucose (sugar in the blood). On its own, milk improves the nutritional status of the mother, which partly explains the success of the “Higgins Method”©.

Low cost, accessibility and versatility

Milk is a product of excellent value for money. It is a source of high quality protein that is very affordable. Milk is easy to find everywhere, at all times. Since it is liquid and requires no preparation, it is easy to integrate in the diet and has various uses: flavored milks, smoothies, hot or cold cereal, cream soups, white sauces, homemade yogurt, milk desserts (flan, rice pudding, tapioca, etc.), frozen yogurt, hot beverages (tea, coffee), etc. Finally, it easily adapts to various feeding practices, including those from different cultures.

Adapted to the characteristics of pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting are common ailments in early pregnancy and are due to hormonal changes. To alleviate the nausea, it is advised to consume fluids between meals. Milk is a nutritious choice that can also compensate the nutritional loss from vomiting.

In late pregnancy, mainly because the baby compresses the stomach, satiety can occur quickly, even after eating very little. Milk is dense in important nutrients; hence a small volume of it provides many nutrients. It can also reduce the common heartburn sensation during pregnancy, particularly when taken between meals.

Milk consumption during pregnancy could have a positive impact on bone density of women. In addition, adequate intake of dairy products helps prevent conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, diabetes and low birth weight, contributing to the overall health of the mother and child.

To learn more as a counsellor about milk as part of a nutritional intervention, read the posting Why is milk used as an intervention tool by the “Higgins Method” ©? (English to follow).


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Dispensaire diététique de Montréal. Évaluation de la « méthode Higgins » ©.


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