Nutrition During Pregnancy

In the 1940s and 1950s it was standard practice in The United States to restrict weight gain during pregnancy to less than 9 kg (20 lb), with the intent of reducing the risk of toxemia and of birth complications that were believed to occur more often with larger babies. In 1967, the Food and Nutrition Board’s (FNB’s) Committee on Maternal Nutrition referred to a 10.9-kg (24-lb) average weight gain for pregnant women in the United States in Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation (NRC, 1967), a report transmitted to the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Following publication of results from the Collaborative Perinatal Project (Eastman and Jackson, 1968), there was increased awareness that mothers who gained less than 9 kg had smaller babies who had poorer chances for survival. Shortly thereafter, the FNB’s Committee on Maternal Nutrition completed a more comprehensive report entitled Maternal Nutrition During the Course of Pregnancy (NRC, 1970a), which reviewed problems, practices, and research bearing on the relation between nutrition and the course and outcome of pregnancy and provided recommendations for weight gain and intake of certain nutrients. That volume, along with

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