Volume 114, Issue 7, Pages 1099-1103 (July 2014)
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that women of childbearing age should adopt a lifestyle optimizing health and reducing risk of birth defects, suboptimal fetal development, and chronic health problems in both mother and child. Components leading to a healthy pregnancy outcome include healthy prepregnancy weight, appropriate weight gain and physical activity during pregnancy, consumption of a wide variety of foods, appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation, avoidance of alcohol and other harmful substances, and safe food handling. Pregnancy is a critical period during which maternal nutrition and lifestyle choices are major influences on mother and child health. Inadequate levels of key nutrients during crucial periods of fetal development may lead to reprogramming within fetal tissues, predisposing the infant to chronic conditions in later life. Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is key to the health of the next generation. This position paper and the accompanying practice paper on the same topic provide registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered; other professional associations; government agencies; industry; and the public with the Academy’s stance on factors determined to influence healthy pregnancy, as well as an overview of best practices in nutrition and healthy lifestyles during pregnancy.