News article

Maternal intake of dairy products to improve gestational weight of infants

Posted:  Monday, June 06, 2016

Increase in maternal dairy intake decreases SGA in infants

Adequate maternal nutrition is an important indicator of normal foetal growth. In a new study, published in the journal Maternal and Child Health Journal, the relation between maternal dairy intake during the first half of pregnancy and the risk of having a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant was analysed.

In a prospective cohort study, 973 healthy pregnant women were selected from the catchment area of Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital, Granada (Spain). Detailed information on socio-demographic variables, lifestyle factors, maternal variables, and child health factors were collected using questionnaires and medical records. Food intake, including dairy products, was recorded using the food frequency questionnaire. All subjects were followed-up until a month after delivery, and neonates were examined for being SGA within 24 hours of birth.

The average birth weight was 3219.1 grams, and the frequency of SGA was 11.8 %. The average dairy intake of women during pregnancy was 580.3 grams/day. Dairy consumption among women who had SGA newborns was significantly lower (513.9 grams/day) compared to mother who had normal newborns that were the appropriate size for gestational age (590.3 grams/day). The study findings indicated a dose-dependent response gradient between dairy intake and SGA wherein the risk of having an SGA infant reduced by 11% with a 100 g/day increase in dairy intake .

The dose–response gradient would be more prominent among pregnant women with below-median daily consumption of dairy products. The increase in the consumption of dairy products may prevent 13.2% to 40.0% of SGA. If all women in the study were to consume at least 700 g/day of dairy products, then 13.2 % of SGA would be prevented. Similarly, 21.1% and 28.4% of SGA would be prevented if dairy consumption among the women being studied were to increase to 800 grams/day and 900 grams/day, respectively.

Women with SGA infants reported a greater prevalence of low dairy intake and smoking during pregnancy. Women with the maximum dairy intake had a significantly lower frequency of SGA compared to the lowest quintile of dairy intake (18.7% vs. 20.6%, respectively). SGA was also positively associated with a sedentary lifestyle and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

In conclusion, inadequate intake of dairy products during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of SGA. The study suggests a causal association between dairy intake during pregnancy and the birth weight of the newborn. The consumption of dairy products during pregnancy is crucial for healthy outcomes in infants.

News Source: Olmedo-Requena R, et al. Association Between Low Dairy Intake During Pregnancy and Risk of Small-for-Gestational-Age Infants. Maternal and child health journal. 2016 Jun:1-9.