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Nutrition in pregnancy

Christine D Garner, PhD, RD
Section Editor
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Most nutritional advice for pregnant women is based on the 1990 and 2009 Institute of Medicine weight gain in pregnancy reports, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and United States Department of Agriculture, and the 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) publication Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. The Recommended Dietary Allowances are levels of nutrients recommended by an expert IOM panel based on extensive evaluation of available scientific evidence and mathematically adjusted to meet the needs of 97 percent of the population.

Although it is clear that prenatal nutrition impacts short- and long-term health, many scientific questions remain unanswered due to the many challenges to performing high-quality scientific research in pregnancy [1]. These challenges include the often unknown critical windows of when nutrition may impact development, many physiologic changes that occur over the course of normal pregnancy, large individual differences in maternal adaptation to pregnancy, ethical and practical issues of experimenting with human pregnancy, and the lack of a good animal model that can be directly extrapolated to humans.

Basic nutritional concerns related to normal pregnancy will be discussed here. Nutritional therapy of diabetes in pregnant women and basic nutritional issues in healthy nonpregnant adults are reviewed elsewhere.

(See "Healthy diet in adults".)

(See "Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention".)


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Literature review current through: Mar 2016. | This topic last updated: Mar 1, 2016.
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