Innovation Insights: The Latest Science on Pre- and Postnatal Nutrition

Talking Nutrition Editors

  • Healthy nutrition is important for all stages of a woman’s life, but nutrition during pregnancy and the postnatal period can be considered particularly important as both mother and baby are affected.
  • Early life nutrition product manufacturers seek to provide solutions for a vast array of nutritional demands. From nutrients given to children for the best start in life, to solutions that support new mothers in postnatal recovery, there are a range of differing requirements for manufacturers to consider.
  • In this article, we look at some recent insights to help those working in R&D roles better understand emerging science and drive the development of optimal maternal nutrition solutions. 

What are the biggest opportunities in pre- and postnatal nutrition?

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2020, we are putting the spotlight on pre- and postnatal nutrition. It is especially important to support a woman’s health before, during and after pregnancy, with nutrition playing an important role in determining her health and wellbeing, as well as that of her child. 

With increasing awareness of maternal nutrition, there is rising demand for nutritional solutions among both expectant and new mothers. Research into pre- and postnatal nutrition is helping early life nutrition product manufacturers create solutions to optimize the health of mother and child. The first 1,000 days of life offers a window of
opportunity to lay the foundations for the ongoing development of an infant. This crucial period starts from conception, making prenatal nutrition essential. Following the birth of her baby, the right nutritional solutions then help to aid postpartum recovery and provide optimal nutrition during breastfeeding.

Here, we focus on two recent articles where we shared insights for those developing pre- or postnatal nutritional solutions. 

1. High blood pressure affects a third of US children

High blood pressure is an increasing health issue worldwide. This isn’t a problem that’s restricted to adults, as the prevalence of high blood pressure during childhood is on the rise too. In a recent study, investigating more than 20,000 American children aged 2 to 17 years, 36% of children experienced high blood pressure at least once during the year.1

To avoid associated health issues, researchers have investigated the role of nutrition in helping to reduce instances of high blood pressure in children. In particular, there has been growing interest in supplemental DHA in pregnancy. When tested, one study found that women receiving DHA during pregnancy had a lower risk of their children’s blood pressure increasing later in life, even if the child becomes overweight or obese. In the placebo group, children who were overweight or obese experienced a higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) than overweight or obese children whose mother received DHA during pregnancy.

This suggests that DHA supplementation during pregnancy may have an important role to play in a child’s health even after infancy.

2. The top six micronutrients for postnatal health

Just as women create plans to guide them through pregnancy and birth, they should be encouraged to think about postnatal care too. This stage includes breastfeeding for many women, which means additional nutrients and calories are needed to support the health of both mother and baby.

Many readily available prenatal supplements can also be helpful in replenishing nutrients passed through breastmilk following birth. However, a breastfeeding mother has very specific nutritional needs. Last year dsm-firmenich held its first Prenatal Nutrition Summit, where industry experts recommended nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium and DHA omega-3 be included in postpartum plans. This creates more opportunities to develop solutions that are optimized to support mothers during the postnatal period.

For more information on developing nutritional solutions to support maternal nutrition, contact us today. 

Published on

05 March 2020


  • Early Life
  • New Science
  • Article
  • R&D


4 min read

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  1. [1] Beacher D. et al., ‘Recognition of elevated blood pressure in an outpatient pediatric tertiary setting’, J Pediatr., vol. 166, no. 5, pg. 1233-1239, 2015.
  2. [1] Kerling EH. Et al., ‘Effect of prenatal docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on blood pressure in children with overweight condition or obesity: a secondary analysis of randomized clinical trial’, JAMA Netw Open, vol. 2, no. 2, 2019.

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