German national consensus recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy by the 'Healthy Start - Young family network'

B. Koletzko, C. P. Bauer, P. Bung, M. Cremer, M. Flothkötter, C. Hellmers, M. Kersting, M. Krawinkel, H. Przyrembel, R. Rasenack, T. Schäfer, K. Vetter, U. Wahn, A. Weissenborn, A. Wöckel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Diet and physical activity before and during pregnancy affect short- and long-term health of mother and child. The energy needs at the end of pregnancy increase only by about 10% compared to nonpregnant women. An excessive energy intake is undesirable since maternal overweight and excessive weight gain can increase the risks for a high birth weight and later child overweight and diabetes. Maternal weight at the beginning of pregnancy is especially important for pregnancy outcome and child health. Women should strive to achieve normal weight already before pregnancy. Regular physical activity can contribute to a healthy weight and to the health of pregnant women. The need for certain nutrients increases more than energy requirements. Before and during pregnancy, foods with a high content of essential nutrients should be preferentially selected. Supplements should include folic acid and iodine, iron (in case of suboptimal iron stores), the ω-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (in case of infrequent consumption of ocean fish) and vitamin D (in case of decreased sun exposure and decreased endogenous vitamin D synthesis). Pregnant women should not smoke and not stay in rooms where others smoke or have smoked before (passive smoking). Alcohol consumption should be avoided, since alcohol can harm unborn children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-322
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Child health
  • Metabolic programming
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Supplements


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