5. Macronutrients and Pregnancy

  1. Emma Derbyshire BSc, PhD, RNutr

Published Online: 6 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch5

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

How to Cite

Derbyshire, E. (2011) Macronutrients and Pregnancy, in Nutrition in the Childbearing Years, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch5

Author Information

  1. Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Human Nutrition, Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 OCT 2011
  2. Published Print: 30 SEP 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444333053

Online ISBN: 9781444344790



  • macronutrients;
  • food cravings;
  • energy;
  • carbohydrate;
  • sugar


During pregnancy, the body adapts to provide a favourable environment for the developing child, modifying the nutritional needs of the mother. Scientific bodies advise that energy intakes only need to be amended in the third trimester of pregnancy although further work is needed to determine whether overweight/obese women should apply an extra energy increment. For macronutrients, the proportions of carbohydrate, fat and protein required for pregnancy are set at levels that are largely the same as non-pregnant women. The importance of some macronutrients, however, needs further investigation, i.e. whether low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates can help to improve pregnancy outcomes, particularly in the case of women who have already delivered large infants. Equally, dietary recommendations for omega-3 intakes in pregnancy have only recently been established by some organisations and now need to be communicated to health practitioners and public sectors. This chapter aims to discuss the potential roles of macronutrients in pregnancy and describe current guidelines, where these are available. Factors affecting food choices and dietary intakes will also be considered.