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Macronutrients during pregnancy

The intake of energy and macronutrients before and during pregnancy impacts evidentially the health of mother and child as well as complications in pregnancy. Most importantly the intake of energy is too high these days, influencing the development of overweight and central obesity which is associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes and perinatal complications. Furthermore, a higher energy intake is related to a higher intake of fat, saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats from plant oils are essential. They also have a positive effect on the lipid profile and improve insulin sensitivity according to present knowledge. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 type from oily fish have a favorable effect on the child's motor and cognitive development and on inflammation, immune function, and allergies. Furthermore, crucial is the quantity and quality of the intake of carbohydrates. Preference of complex carbohydrates, reduction of fast digestible carbohydrates (sugar), and an increase of fiber are associated with a lower risk for overweight, increased weight gain during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, macrosomia of the child, and possibly for preeclampsia. The intake of protein is currently sufficient. Even lacto- and ovo-lacto-vegetarians are generally adequately supplied, since plant foods are also an excellent source of protein. A strictly vegan diet, however, is critical for pregnant women. The value of a healthy diet and an improved lifestyle should be addressed early, the more so as pregnant women or those wishing to become pregnant are mostly open to counseling. This is of increasing significance in view of the growing evidence for fetal programming of the child's food habits later in life by the mother's intake of macronutrients.

CME Prakt Fortbild Gynakol Geburtsmed Gynakol Endokrinol 2012; 8(3): 216–234

Pregnancy, macronutrients, protein, fat, carbohydrate

Birgit-Christiane Zyriax, Eberhard Windler
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf,
Endokrinologie und Stoffwechsel des Alterns, Hamburg
Reviewer: Ekkehard Schleußner, Jena,
und Cornelia Wäscher, Berlin

Zyriax B.-Ch. Makronährstoffe ... Gynakol Geburtsmed Gynakol Endokrinol 2012; 8(3): 216–234 publiziert 30.11.2012 ©akademos Wissenschaftsverlag 2012 ISSN 1614-8533