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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: February 2010

Chapter 12 - Teenage pregnancies

from Section 3 - Specialized requirements

Summary

Poor fetal growth in the developing world is largely attributed to widespread maternal undernutrition. The majority of low birth weight (LBW) in developing countries is due to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), the causes of which are complex and multiple, depending primarily on the mother, placenta, fetus, and combinations of all three. The recent hypothesis on fetal origins of adult diseases suggests that fetal undernutrition at critical periods of development in utero and during infancy leads to permanent changes in body structure and metabolism. Cultural beliefs, practices, and food taboos play a role to some extent in determining maternal intakes in some of the populations in developing countries. In most populations, maternal diets are inadequate in both macronutrients and micronutrients. Minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium are known to have an important role in fetal growth. Reappraisal of maternal interventions is essential to explore future possibilities through systematic research.

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