Critical issues in setting micronutrient recommendations for pregnant women: an insight

Berti, Cristiana, Decsi, Tamás, Dykes, Fiona Clare orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2728-7967, Hermoso, Maria, Koletzko, Berthold, Massari, Maddalena, Moreno, Luis A., Serra-Majem, Luis and Cetin, Irene (2010) Critical issues in setting micronutrient recommendations for pregnant women: an insight. Maternal And Child Nutrition, 6 . pp. 5-22. ISSN 1740-8695

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The European Micronutrient Recommendations Aligned (EURRECA) Network aims to provide standardized
approaches to reveal and beneficially influence variability within the European Union in micronutrient recommendations
for vulnerable population groups. Characterization of the ‘vulnerability’ together with the ‘variability’
of micronutrient needs represents the first step to creating guidelines for setting micronutrient
recommendations within target populations. This paper describes some of the key factors and characteristics
relevant to assess micronutrient requirements and formulate recommendations of micronutrients in pregnancy.
Nutritional requirements during pregnancy increase to support fetal growth and development as well as maternal
metabolism and tissue accretion. Micronutrients are involved in both embryonal and fetal organ development
and overall pregnancy outcomes. Several factors may affect directly or indirectly fetal nourishment and the
overall pregnancy outcomes, such as the quality of diet including intakes and bioavailability of micronutrients,
maternal age, and the overall environment. The bioavailability of micronutrients during pregnancy varies
depending on specific metabolic mechanisms because pregnancy is an anabolic and dynamic state orchestrated
via hormones acting for both redirection of nutrients to highly specialized maternal tissues and transfer of
nutrients to the developing fetus.The timing of prenatal intakes or supplementations of specific micronutrients
is also crucial as pregnancy is characterized by different stages that represent a continuum, up to lactation and
beyond. Consequently, nutrition during pregnancy might have long-lasting effects on the well-being of the
mother and the fetus, and may further influence the health of the baby at a later age.

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