The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine last reviewed the state of the science on nutrition during pregnancy and lactation with the consensus study reports reports Nutrition During Pregnancy (1990) and Nutrition During Lactation (1991). Since then, the body of evidence on the relationships between nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, as well as maternal and infant health and chronic disease, has continued to grow and evolve. At the same time, the demographics, health, and dietary intake of the population have changed, giving rise to new considerations.
To explore new evidence, in January 2020, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies convened a workshop in Washington, DC, to explore where new evidence has emerged relevant to nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.
Participants discussed recent findings regarding macronutrient and energy requirements during pregnancy and lactation, along with their relationships to maternal health and infant growth.
The workshop included sessions that reviewed the current understanding of the roles and need for a variety of micronutrients and dietary supplements, and also explored nonnutritive factors.
Participants discussed the complex interplay between maternal nutrition, health, exposures, lactation, and the implications for maternal and infant health.
The workshop covered mothers’ intakes from the prenatal through postnatal periods and explored how nutrition during this period influences programming of the growth and development of their children.
Although evidence on relevant biological and physiological processes is fundamental to developing nutrition recommendations for women during pregnancy and lactation, dietary decisions and behaviors are made within structural, social, and environmental contexts. Workshop participants explored the role of systems and policies in improving nutrition access and equity during pregnancy and lactation.
This activity was partially supported by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Health Canada, and the National Institutes of Health (Office of Dietary Supplements) with additional support from the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division.
Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of the individual workshop participants. They are not necessarily endorsed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.