chapter  5
28 Pages

Pregnancy and Lactation

In pregnancy and lactation, the requirements for energy and most nutrients are elevated, thereby increasing the risk of inadequate intake. Optimal maternal nutrition during all phases of the reproductive cycle-prepregnancy, pregnancy, and lactationis essential not only for maternal well-being but also for the overall health outcome of the offspring. Suboptimal nutritional status can augment the expression of many reproductive insults, and alter maternal metabolism and reproductive tissue development. The main cause of suboptimal nutritional status and health is a poor quality diet, often due to an inadequate intake or avoidance of animal food sources resulting inmicronutrient deficiencies. In contrast, excessive calorie intakemay also contribute to poor pregnancy outcome and infant development.