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Is dietary macronutrient composition during pregnancy associated with offspring birth weight? An observational study

  • Sukshma S. Sharma (a1), Darren C. Greenwood (a2), Nigel A. B. Simpson (a3) and Janet E. Cade (a1)

There is lack of evidence on the differential impact of maternal macronutrient consumption: carbohydrates (CHO), fats and protein on birth weight. We investigated the association between maternal dietary macronutrient intakes and their sub-components such as saccharides and fatty acids and birth weight. This analyses included 1,196 women with singleton pregnancies who were part of the CAffeine and REproductive health study in Leeds, UK between 2003 and 2006. Women were interviewed in each trimester. Dietary information was collected twice using a 24-h dietary recall about 8–12 weeks and 13–27 weeks of gestation. Multiple linear regression models adjusted for alcohol and smoking in trimester 1, showed that each additional 10 g/d CHO consumption was associated with an increase of 4 g (95 % CI 1, 7; P=0·003) in birth weight. Conversely, an additional 10 g/d fat intake was associated with a lower birth weight of 8 g (95 % CI 0, 16; P=0·04) when we accounted for energy contributing macronutrients in each model, and maternal height, weight, parity, ethnicity, gestational age at delivery and sex of the baby. There was no evidence of an association between protein intake and birth weight. Maternal diet in trimester 2 suggested that higher intakes of glucose (10 g/d) and lactose (1 g/d) were both associated with higher birth weight of 52 g (95 % CI 4, 100; P=0·03) and 5 g (95 % CI 2, 7; P<0·001) respectively. These results show that dietary macronutrient composition during pregnancy is associated with birth weight outcomes. An appropriately balanced intake of dietary CHO and fat during pregnancy could support optimum birth weight.

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* Corresponding author: S. S. Sharma, email
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