Maternal Nutrition and Wellness

April 18 – June 24, 2016

An important goal in public health is that of improving the health and well-being of women of reproductive age. Research shows that this can have a great impact on the health of future generations. Identifying and addressing the existing health risks, conditions and behaviors of women in this age group and the health, social, ethnic and economic disparities in the health care system and community can reduce maternal and infant mortality and pregnancy-related complications, improve birth outcomes, prevent disability or death and enable children to reach their full potential. Public health nutritionists can play a vital role in helping to achieve this goal.

This course provides an opportunity for public health nutritionists to explore women’s health during preconception, pregnancy and lactation and explore the complex factors that affect the health, wellness, and quality of life of women, children, and families. It is specifically designed to improve nutrition assessment and counseling skills in maternal health, enhance core knowledge in basic nutrition and management of specific conditions, and provide updated resource lists and tools to connect clients with community resources.

Target Audience

The audience for this course is public health nutritionists and other dietetic professionals working in Local Health Agencies throughout North Carolina who are new to maternal nutrition and wellness or who want to broaden their maternal nutrition and wellness knowledge base.

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This self-paced, instructor-facilitated, online course consists of three modules: Module 1: Preventing Barriers to a Healthy Pregnancy, Module 2: Healthy Pregnancy and Lactation, and Module 3: Managing Diseases and Conditions during and after Pregnancy.

Each module includes presentations that can be viewed online in various formats, handouts that can be used as reference aids “back on the job”, activities that help reinforce important course content, and resources and references that provide further information and links to the latest research.

Completion of the course will take approximately 2-3 hours per week and varies by student. Please note that successful completion often requires working on the course during personal time.

For more information about the course’s technical requirements, please review the “System Requirements” section below. Technical support will be provided to students during the course.

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Overview of Modules

Module 1: Preventing Barriers to a Healthy Pregnancy
The first module focuses on the care of a woman before she becomes pregnant as well as identifying any potential health disparities that may influence pregnancy outcomes. Module 1 consists of the following two units:

  • Unit 1: Nutrition Considerations in Preconception
  • Unit 2: Social and Psychological Determinants of Maternal Health

Module 2: Healthy Pregnancy and Lactation
The second module covers general nutrition care and specific nutrition concerns during pregnancy, as well as lactation, and consists of the following three units:

  • Unit 1: Expectations and Nutrition during Pregnancy
  • Unit 2: Special Health and Nutrition Considerations
  • Unit 3: Health and Nutrition Considerations during Lactation

Module 3: Managing Diseases and Conditions during and after Pregnancy
The last module focuses on management of weight status, diabetes, and pregnant and lactating women with food allergies and celiac disease. Module 3 consists of the following three units:

  • Unit 1: The Impact of Weight in Pregnancy
  • Unit 2: Diabetes
  • Unit 3: Adverse Food Reactions in Maternal Health

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Dates and Location

The course will run from April 18 through June 24, 2016, and is completely online. The links to a recorded orientation webinar will be provided via email to all fully enrolled and paid participants the week prior to the start of the course. This webinar will provide an overview and demonstration of the online course environment. There are no required meeting dates or times.

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This course has been developed in collaboration with the Division of Public Health Nutrition Services Branch, Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina and the NC Institute for Public Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

NC Division of Public Health comm_gillings_logo_blue

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Continuing Education Credits

This course is approved for 15 Level 1 Continuing Professional Education Units (CPEUs) from the Commission on Dietetic Registration, for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), Registered Dietitians (RDs), Nutrition and Dietetics Technicians, Registered (NDTRs), and Dietetic Technicians, Registered (DTRs). For those not eligible for CPEU credit, 1.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded upon completion of the course from the Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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System Requirements

In order to successfully complete this course, the computer equipment used should meet the following minimum hardware and software requirements:

  • 1 GHz processor or better
  • 256 MB or more of RAM
  • 20 GB free on the hard disk
  • 56 Kbps or better modem, cable, or LAN connection to the Internet
  • 16-bit or better sound card and speakers
  • 15-inch color monitor or larger
  • 65,000-color or better video display card
  • Windows XP or 2000
  • Adobe Reader 8.0 or later (free)
  • Adobe Flash Player 9.0 or later (free)

Important note: Which browser to use

Please note: We recommend you use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser for the course. Both are free to download. Past students have had trouble using Sakai (the learning environment for the course) in Internet Explorer.

If you do not know what browser you are using, you can go to the online skills test to find out.

If you are completing the course using a computer at your office, and you do not have either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, please contact your IT department for assistance.

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Online Skills Test

To make sure you have the minimum system requirements for completing the module, complete the online skills test.

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Enrollment in this course is a two step process:

  1. Complete the online application form before March 18, 2016.
  2. Once your application has been received and reviewed, you will be invited to register. Information about how to register will be emailed to you upon your acceptance into the course.

You must complete both steps in order to enroll in this course.

Total enrollment in this course is limited. Preference is given to public health nutrition personnel who work in North Carolina Local Health Agencies and pediatric nutritionists in Children’s Developmental Services Agencies (CDSAs). A limited number of spots are available to others.

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The course fee is $50 for public health nutrition personnel in North Carolina Local Health Agencies and for pediatric nutritionists in North Carolina Children’s Developmental Services Agencies (CDSAs). For all other participants the course fee is $100.

All registration fees must be received or postmarked no later than April 1, 2016 or your registration will be CANCELED. You will be able to pay for the course after you have been accepted in the program.

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Dropping the Course

If you find that you cannot participate in this course you must cancel no later than April 1, 2016. Any cancellation received after April 1 will be charged the full registration fee. All cancellations must be received in writing. You may send cancellations to Cherelle Whitfield at Substitutions from the same organization are allowed at any time before the start of the course with prior notification to

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For More Information

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Cherelle Whitfield at or Anna Tseng, Online Courses Project Manager, at

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