Influence of maternal nutritional status on prenatal growth in a Peruvian urban population

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Abstract

Anthropometric measurements were made on 4,952 mothers and their neonates from a Peruvian urban population. Based on age-specific percentiles, the mothers were separated into categories of short and tall stature, high and low fat, and high and low muscle. The study indicates that: (1) tall and short mothers characterized by similar subcutaneous fat and upper arm muscle area (whether high or low) had newborns with similar birth weight and recumbent length; (2) mothers characterized by high subcutaneous fat had heavier and fatter, but not longer, newborns than mothers with low subcutaneous fat; (3) mothers characterized by high upper arm muscle area had heavier, leaner and longer newborns than mothers with low upper arm muscle area; (4) mothers characterized by high muscle and high fat had heavier and longer newborns than mothers with high muscle and low fat; but (5) mothers characterized by high muscle and low fat had heavier and longer newborns than mothers with low muscle and high fat. Considering that subcutaneous fat and arm muscle area reflect calorie and protein reserves respectively, it is concluded that an increase in maternal calorie reserves results in increased infant fatness, but a lesser increase in linear growth. In contrast, an increase in maternal protein reserves does enhance both birth weight and prenatal linear growth.

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