Prenatal Nutrition and Nutrition in Pregnancy: Effects on Long-Term Growth and Development

A. Imdad, Z. Lassi, R. Salaam, Z. A. Bhutta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Optimal nutritional status of the mothers is the most influential nongenetic factor for the healthy development of the fetus and well-being of mothers. Maternal malnutrition, both undernutrition and overnutrition (obesity), may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes and can have substantial negative effects on growth and development during childhood and excess risk of developing chronic diseases during adult life. In settings of chronic malnutrition, the adverse effects can be transmitted across generations with cumulative negative and intergenerational effects. Malnourished mothers, especially adolescent girls and also multigravidas tend to give birth to low birth weight (LBW) babies (including preterm and small for gestational age babies) with excess risk of stunted growth. Such stunted children grow up to be stunted individuals entering the reproductive period with suboptimal nutritional status and repetition of these risks and adverse outcomes across the life cycle. Observational studies from animal and humans make a strong case of intergenerational effects of maternal malnutrition; however the number of intervention studies with long-term follow is small and few robust conclusions can be drawn at this stage. Further intervention studies or cohorts with key health and nutrition interventions and long-term follow-up are needed to understand the relationships of maternal nutrition and risks of adverse medium to long-term outcomes and risks of chronic disease during childhood and adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Nutrition and Long-Term Health
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms, Consequences, and Opportunities
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780081001868
ISBN (Print)9780081001684
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Balanced protein energy supplementation
  • Folic acid
  • Intergenerational effect
  • Iodine supplementation
  • Multiple micronutrient supplementation
  • Preconception
  • Prenatal nutrition


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