Prenatal nutrition and nutrition in pregnancy: Effects on long-term growth and development

Zohra S. Lassi, Zahra A. Padhani, Rehana A. Salam, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


Optimal nutrition before and during pregnancy is important for a growing fetus. Maternal malnutrition is a risk factor for maternal, fetal, and neonatal health complications and is more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Various nutrition interventions have shown a positive impact on maternal, birth, and infant outcomes. Existing evidence suggests that periconception folic-acid alone and iron-folic acid (IFA) supplementation reduces the risk of neural tube defects and anemia, respectively; while multiple micronutrients, balanced energy protein supplementation, and food distribution during pregnancy reduces the incidence of stillbirths, low birth weight, and small for gestational age births. Epidemiological, animal, and human studies have shown that in utero malnutrition increases the risk of developing the chronic disease during adulthood. However, the long-term impact of pre-conception nutrition and nutrition during pregnancy is still not well established. Therefore, future interventional studies should focus on key nutritional outcomes with long-term follow-ups to study the relationship between pre-natal nutrition and the risk of developing adverse long-term outcomes in childhood and adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Nutrition and Long-Term Health
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms, Consequences, and Opportunities, Second Edition
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780128243893
ISBN (Print)9780128244050
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Development
  • Growth
  • Nutrition
  • Pre-conception
  • Pre-natal
  • Pregnancy


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