This book represents the edited remarks delivered by approximately 50 investigators at a workshop on maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation that was held in 1979.
The first section is devoted to physiology and biochemistry. Naismith and Hytten document the evidence that the human fetus is largely protected against effects of a poor maternal diet, and discuss some of the mechanisms for this protection, such as hormonal changes, storage during times of plenty, and active transport of nutrients to the fetus. The importance of adequate circulation of the mother and placenta for fetal nutrition is emphasized by Widdowson. Matthieu and co-workers conclude this section by reference to their animal work, with the well-documented evidence that subsequent behavior is more disrupted by rearing in large litters than by malnourished mothers.
The second section consists of reports concerning maternal dietary intake in different populations. The difficulties of obtaining this information are stressed.