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Publication Date

October 1, 2002


Journal Article

Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome

By Kaiser L, Allen L


It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that women of childbearing potential should maintain good nutritional status through a lifestyle that optimizes maternal health and reduces the risk of birth defects, suboptimal fetal growth and development, and chronic health problems in their children. The key components of a health-promoting lifestyle during pregnancy include appropriate weight gain; consumption of a variety of foods in accordance with the Food Guide Pyramid; appropriate and timely vitamin and mineral supplementation; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances; and safe food-handling. Prenatal weight gain within the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended ranges is associated with better pregnancy outcomes. The total energy needs during pregnancy range between 2,500 to 2,700 kcal a day for most women, but prepregnancy body mass index, rate of weight gain, maternal age, and physiological appetite must be considered in tailoring this recommendation to the individual. The consumption of more food to meet energy needs and the increased absorption and efficiency of nutrient utilization that occurs in pregnancy are generally adequate to meet the needs for most nutrients. However, vitamin and mineral supplementation is appropriate for some nutrients and situations. This statement also includes recommendations pertaining to use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, street drugs, and other substances during pregnancy; food safety; and management of common complaints during pregnancy and specific health problems. In particular for medical nutrition therapy, pregnant women with inappropriate weight gain, hyperemesis, poor dietary patterns, phenylketonuria (PKU), certain chronic health problems, or a history of substance abuse should be referred to a qualified dietetics professional.

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Date Added
March 21, 2018

Kaiser L, Allen L (2002) Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association: Vol. 102, pp. 1479-1490. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12396171