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Nutritional Requirements for Maternal and Newborn Health

[ Vol. 11 , Issue. 1 ]


Maria-Raquel G. Silva and Maria Luisa Bellotto   Pages 41 - 50 ( 10 )


During pregnancy, dietary energy and nutrient requirements are increased to support metabolism changes of the mother, as blood volume and red cells expansion, and the delivery of energy and nutrients to the fetus. This review aims to: i) identify and discuss maternal physiological changes during pregnancy related to nutrition; ii) clarify about the most recently nutritional recommendations for pregnant women, including special groups of pregnant women, who do not usually practice a healthy diet, those who are in high-risk categories and pregnant athletes; iii) and clarify the importance of breastfeeding, specifically for the newborn, and infant formulae, as an alternative feeding. A literature review was undertaken by electronic databases PubMed, b-on, Scielo, Medline, Web of Science and Science Direct. The most recent original articles, systematic reviews and meta-analyses were used to search information from pregnancy, newborn baby, postpartum and nutritional status. The intake of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats can be preventive for an appropriate maternal weight and infant weight. Supplements should only be used when there is a deficiency. Special groups of pregnant women who do not usually practice a healthy diet, those who are in high-risk categories and pregnant athletes should daily take a multivitamin andmineral preparation containing a variety of nutrients beginning in the second trimester. A healthy diet and an appropriate body weight are mandatory for maternal health and fetal outcomes. Breast milk is a unique source of energy and nutrients for the infant.


Energy, fetus health, infant health, maternal health, nutrients, special groups.


, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Fernando Pessoa, Oporto, Portugal.

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