Balanced energy and protein supplementation during pregnancy
The nutritional status of women prior to and during pregnancy plays a key role in fetal growth and development. Undernourished pregnant women may be at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including giving birth to low-birth-weight infants.
Providing balanced protein energy supplementation (i.e. supplements in which protein provides less than 25% of the total energy content) to undernourished pregnant women has been shown to promote gestational weight gain and improve pregnancy outcomes.
Current evidence indicates that balanced energy and protein supplementation improves fetal growth, and may reduce the risk of stillbirth, low-birth-weight infants and infants born small-for-gestational age, especially among undernourished pregnant women. High-protein supplementation during pregnancy does not appear to be beneficial and may be harmful to the fetus. The evidence further suggests that antenatal nutritional advice with the aim of increasing maternal energy and protein intake may be effective in increasing maternal protein intake and reducing the risk of preterm birth.
Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.
Status: not currently available
Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
The effect of balanced protein energy supplementation in undernourished pregnant women and child physical growth in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Effects of protein energy supplementation during pregnancy on fetal growth: a review of the literature focusing on contextual factors
Maternal nutrition and birth outcomes: effect of balanced protein-energy supplementation
The effect of folic acid, protein energy and multiple micronutrient supplements in pregnancy on stillbirths
Effect of balanced protein energy supplementation during pregnancy on birth outcomes