Predicting Fetal Malnutrition

  • Jack Metcoff
Part of the Nutrition and Food Science book series (NFS, volume 3)


Human fetal malnutrition is associated with reduced neuroblast formation, cell numbers, myelin formation and dendritic arborization in the developing brain. Postnatally, neurologic defects and impaired mental development and school performance are common. Congenital anomalies are eight times more frequent and there is little or no catch-up growth of brain or stature. These all lead to net reduction of competitive competence in childhood and adult life. The cost of a society in terms of lost potential may be enoumous. Fetal malnutrition may compromise 5 – 8% of all pregnancies in developed countries like the U.S.A., and 9 – 28% of all live births with gestational period more than 37 weeks in developing countries. World wide, fetal malnutrition of the growing fetus and prevent the consequences of fetal malnutrition, prenatal diagnosis should identify those mothers carrying undernourished babies before the rapid phase of brain growth and cell hyperplasia is completed. If some constellation of nutrients and other remediable factors adversely affecting fetal growth can be identified at the same time, appropriate interventions could be initiated to improve intrauterine nutrition and growth of the fetus.


Fetal Growth Principal Component Score Maternal Nutrition Uncomplicated Pregnancy Birth Size 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Metcoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Univ. of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA

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