Research Article| Volume 19, ISSUE 13, P1393-1397, December 1997

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Nutrition and Fetal Growth

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      Fetal nutrition is the major regulator of fetal growth in late gestation. However, the relationship between nutrition and fetal growth in human pregnancy has not been widely recognized by clinicians for a number of reasons. The balance and timing of maternal nutritional in take may have complex and interactive effects on fetal and placental growth. There is a need to distinguish fetal nutrition from maternal nutrition, and to distinguish fetal growth from birthweight. The effects of nutrition on fetal growth may be indirect through their influence on the fetal endocrine status or direct by modifying the substrate supply. Finally, the effect of nutrition on fetal growth may be evident over the life-time of the individual and over more than one generation. All of these factors must be considered in assessing the role of nutrition in the regulation of fetal growth.


      L’alimentation du foetus est le principal facteur de régulation de la croissance foetale vers la fin de la gestation. Cependant, pour divers motifs, la plupart des cliniciens ne reconnaissent pas l’existence de la relation entre l’alimentation et la croissance du foetus pendant la grossesse. L’équilibre et la chronologie de l’apport alimentaire maternel peuvent avoir des effets complexes et interactifs sur la croissance du foetus et du placenta. Il faut distinguer l’alimentation foetale de l’alimentation maternelle, ainsi que la croissance foetale du poids de naissance. L’alimentation peut avoir des effets indirects sur la croissance foetale en influant sur l’état endocrinien du foetus ou des effets directs en modifiant l’apport en substrats. Enfin, l’effet de la nutrition sur la croissance foetale peut être évident en fonction de la durée de vie d’une personne et de plus d’une génération. Il faut tenir compte de tous ces facteurs au moment d’évaluer le rôle de la nutrition dans la régulation de la croissance foetale.

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