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Nutrients. 2016 Oct 14;8(10). pii: E629.

Maternal Diet and Nutrient Requirements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. An Italian Consensus Document.

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NFI-Nutrition Foundation of Italy, Milano 20124, Italy.
Department of Mother and Child Hospital Luigi Sacco, Center for Fetal Research Giorgio Pardi, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences University of Milan-Italian Society of Perinatal Medicine (SIMP), Milano 20157, Italy.
Department of Pediatrics, Department of Health Sciences, San Paolo Hospital, University of Milan-Italian Society of Pediatrics (SIP), Milano 20142, Italy.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, S. Cimino Hospital-Italian Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SIGO), Termini Imerese, Palermo 90018, Italy.
Department of Pediatrics, San Paolo Hospital, Department of Health Science, University of Milan-Italian Society of Pediatric Nutrition (SINUPE), Milano 20142, Italy.
Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Maternal and Child Department, Cannizzaro Hospital-Italian Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SIGO), Catania 95126, Italy.
Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother and Child Care, University of Palermo-Italian Society of Pediatrics (SIP), Palermo 90127, Italy.
NFI-Nutrition Foundation of Italy, Milano 20124, Italy.


The importance of lifestyle and dietary habits during pregnancy and breastfeeding, for health of mothers and their offspring, is widely supported by the most recent scientific literature. The consumption of a varied and balanced diet from the preconceptional period is essential to ensure both maternal well-being and pregnancy outcomes. However, the risk of inadequate intakes of specific micronutrients in pregnancy and lactation is high even in the most industrialized countries. This particularly applies to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), iron, iodine, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin D, also in the Italian population. Moreover, the risk of not reaching the adequate nutrient supply is increased for selected groups of women of childbearing age: those following exclusion diets, underweight or overweight/obese, smokers, adolescents, mothers who have had multiple or close pregnancies, and those with previous unfavorable pregnancy outcomes.


DHA; adequate intake; breastfeeding; micronutrients; nutrient requirement; pregnancy

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