Food and Behaviour Research

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Dietary fat intakes for pregnant and lactating women.

Koletzko B, Cetin I, Brenna JT; Perinatal Lipid Intake Working Group; Child Health Foundation; Diabetic Pregnancy Study Group; European Association of Perinatal Medicine; European Association of Perinatal Medicine; European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism; European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Committee on Nutrition; International Federation of Placenta Associations; International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (2007) Br J Nutr.  98(5) 873-7. Epub 2007 Aug 10 

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Dietary fat intake in pregnancy and lactation affects pregnancy outcomes and child growth, development and health.

The European Commission charged the research project PERILIP, jointly with the Early Nutrition Programming Project, to develop recommendations on dietary fat intake in pregnancy and lactation. Literature reviews were performed and a consensus conference held with international experts in the field, including representatives of international scientific associations.

The adopted conclusions include:

  • dietary fat intake in pregnancy and lactation (energy%) should be as recommended for the general population;
  • pregnant and lactating women should aim to achieve an average dietary intake of at least 200 mg DHA/d;
  • intakes of up to 1 g/d DHA or 2.7 g/d n-3 long-chain PUFA have been used in randomized clinical trials without significant adverse effects;
  • women of childbearing age should aim to consume one to two portions of sea fish per week, including oily fish;
  • intake of the DHA precursor, alpha-linolenic acid, is far less effective with regard to DHA deposition in fetal brain than preformed DHA;
  • intake of fish or other sources of long-chain n-3 fatty acids results in a slightly longer pregnancy duration;
  • dietary inadequacies should be screened for during pregnancy and individual counselling be offered if needed.