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ABSTRACT: Using three case histories, a review of malnutrition caused by calorie and salt restriction and diuretics is made, with special note of the relationship between these factors and toxemia, low birth weight and other obstetric complications. A survey of women entering prenatal classes in four geographic areas of the US is reported. We found that between 24 percent and 79 percent of women entering prenatal classes are actually dieting to hold the line at their seventh month weight gains. Up to 66 percent of women were told nothing as to an ideal weight gain by their doctors, and as many as 10% thought the weight gain given was too high. We found that about half of all women surveyed reached whatever they thought was the maximum weight gain by the seventh month of pregnancy, and then dieted to hold the line; up to 7 percent were trying to lose weight. Sodium restriction is still being prescribed for between 12 and 49 percent of women in the communities surveyed. Diuretics for late pregnancy edema are seldom prescribed. The physiology of protein-calorie restriction and salt depletion are reviewed, with recommendations for action on the part of childbirth educators.