Chapter

Nutrient Regulation during Pregnancy, Lactation, and Infant Growth

Volume 352 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 1-9

Mechanisms of Fetal Growth Retardation in the Underweight Mother

  • Pedro RossoAffiliated withCenter for Medical Research, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Chile
  • , Sofía P. SalasAffiliated withCenter for Medical Research, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Chile

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Abstract

During pregnancy, the mother undergoes a variety of physiological and metabolic adjustments. These functional changes make it possible for the mother to sustain fetal growth while protecting her own homeostasis. Estrogen and progesterone produced by the placenta are responsible for most of the changes taking place in the maternal body. These hormones also play a crucial role in establishing an adequate maternal-fetal exchange of nutrients by way of increasing uteroplacental blood flow (Rosso, 1990). Threats to maternal well-being disrupt maternal-fetal exchange with negative consequences for the fetus. Nutrient availability is one of the environmental factors that can affect maternal-fetal exchange.