The overarching charge to the 1989 National Academies’ subcommittees on nutrition in pregnancy and lactation was "to evaluate and document the current scientific evidence and formulate recommendations for the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women." The lactation subcommittee was also asked to consider justification for special recommendations for different maternal age and ethnic groups. The pregnancy and lactation subcommittees released their respective reports and recommendations in 1990 (Nutrition During Pregnancy) and 1991 (Nutrition During Lactation).
In the intervening period since release of these two reports, there has been advances that warrant an exploration of the state of the science related to nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Our understanding of nutrient requirements during these critical windows, for instance, has evolved over the past 30 years. Dietary patterns and nutritional supplement use have also changed, which have implications for dietary recommendations for women who are pregnant or lactating. A growing body of research provides evidence that maternal nutrition during these periods can have both short- and long-term health implications for mother and child.
There have also been changes in the population since the early 1990’s. There has been a shift toward greater numbers of at-risk population groups, along with other socioeconomic changes. These shifts could influence the proportion of women who have access to adequate resources and information needed to choose a healthy diet. In addition, disparities in access to healthy foods as well as environments that support healthy lifestyle choices are of increasing concern. There has also been a shift toward delayed childbearing, so that more women are entering pregnancy for the first time in their early to late 40s. This population subgroup is at greater risk of having metabolic risk factors that may have an impact on pregnancy and lactation outcomes compared to younger women.
This 2-day workshop will explore the state of the science today, relative to what was known and accepted three decades ago. The workshop will examine current evidence on nutrients, nutritional supplements, and other nutrition-based topics relevant to pregnancy and lactation. The workshop topics will also include discussion of equity in access to nutritional care for women of childbearing age.