Eugenia Eliadou, Clinical Dietitian at Mediterraneo Hospital
Α woman who enters pregnancy in an inadequate nutritional status has a risk of having poor pregnancy performance, of depleting her own body stores of nutrients, and of entering lactation in a state of suboptimal nutritional status, which could deteriorate further as lactation progresses. Infants who are undernourished in the womb are at risk of a variety of adverse outcomes, ranging from low birth weight to severe mental and physical retardation and even death. The effects of undernutrition before pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation, depends on the stage at which undernutrition occurs. Each stage of this part of the life cycle has specific tissue needs for nutrients and shortcomings in tissue supply of these nutrients may have undesirable consequences. The success of pregnancy is also affected by intake of substances such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs, the physical and emotional stresses to which she is subjected, and the presence of any infections or other diseases.