The importance of maternal nutrition for health

Irene Cetin, Arianna Laoreti


Nutrition plays a major role in maternal and child health and it is widely recognized that optimum nutrition in early life is the foundation for long-term health. A healthy maternal dietary pattern, along with adequate maternal body composition, metabolism and placental nutrient supply, reduces the risk of maternal, fetal and long-term effects in the offspring. While undernutrition is mainly an issue of low-income countries, malnutrition, due to poor quality diet, is becoming a global health problem.
Preconceptional counseling of women of childbearing age should spread awareness of the importance of maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy and should promote a cultural lifestyle change, in favor of a healthy weight before conceiving and balanced healthy diet with high-quality foods consumption. Supplementation and/or fortification can make a contribution when recommended micronutrient intakes are difficult to be met through food alone. In industrialized countries, although a balanced diet is generally accessible, a switch to a high-fat and low-quality diet has led to inadequate vitamin and mineral intake during pregnancy. Evidence do not support a routine multiple micronutrient supplementation but highlights the importance of an individualized approach, in order to recognize nutritional deficiencies of individuals, thus leading to healthful dietary practices prior to conception and eventually to tailored supplementation.


Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Neonatology and Satellite Meetings · Cagliari (Italy) · October 26th-31st, 2015 · From the womb to the adult
Guest Editors: Vassilios Fanos (Cagliari, Italy), Michele Mussap (Genoa, Italy), Antonio Del Vecchio (Bari, Italy), Bo Sun (Shanghai, China), Dorret I. Boomsma (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Gavino Faa (Cagliari, Italy), Antonio Giordano (Philadelphia, USA)


maternal nutrition; pregnancy outcome; infant outcome; dietary pattern; malnutrition; supplementation

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