8. Diet and Pregnancy Outcome

  1. Emma Derbyshire BSc, PhD, RNutr

Published Online: 6 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch8

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

How to Cite

Derbyshire, E. (2011) Diet and Pregnancy Outcome, in Nutrition in the Childbearing Years, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch8

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



  • healthy baby;
  • apgar scores;
  • foetal growth;
  • dietary mutagens;
  • nutrigenomics


Most women hope to deliver a happy and healthy baby. However, unfortunately this is not always the case. Although a range of factors, including social, environmental and the inheritance of genetic conditions, may affect the health of the child, scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the role that dietary and lifestyle factors can play in terms of helping to optimise the chances of delivering a healthy baby. The roles of particular vitamins and minerals have already been discussed, but there remains many unanswered questions about other dietary constituents. For example, it is well known that alcohol intake should be kept to a minimum during pregnancy but should this be consumed at all? Equally, the advice about levels of caffeine consumption can be just as confusing. There is emerging evidence about how diet in pregnancy can modulate gene expression in the offspring—but how can this be applied? Equally, women may be unsure about how taking dietary supplements could benefit their own health and that of their child. This chapter aims to evaluate the scientific evidence for such questions and form balanced, evidence-based conclusions about how specific dietary factors may influence pregnancy outcomes.