Maternal Dietary Nutrient Intake During Pregnancy and Offspring Linear Growth and Bone: The Vitamin D in Pregnancy Cohort Study

Julie PascoAuthors: Natalie K. Hyde, Sharon L. Brennan-Olsen, John D. Wark, Sarah M. Hosking, Julie A. Pasco

Source: Calcified Tissue International, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 47–54, January 2017

Brief summary of the paper: Magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, potassium and protein all play integral roles in maintaining bone health in adults; however, less is known about the importance of these minerals in utero.

We aimed to determine associations between maternal dietary consumption of these nutrients during gestation and birth measures in offspring. Of 475 pregnant women recruited from a single antenatal clinic before 16-week gestation (2002–2003) as part of the vitamin D in pregnancy study, 346 with recorded maternal dietary intakes at 28- to 32-week gestation and offspring measures at birth were included.

At birth, trained personnel measured the infant’s weight, knee-heel length, crown-heel length and head circumference. At age 11, returning offspring underwent assessment of bone mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (n = 171). Crown-heel length was positively and weakly correlated with maternal intakes of all measured nutrients except calcium, fat and carbohydrate (r = 0.15–0.17; all p ≤ 0.05). The associations with protein, phosphorus and potassium were not attenuated after adjustment for maternal and offspring characteristics.

No sustained associations were seen with other birth measures. Further, associations with some nutrients persisted with offspring height at age 11 years. Offspring bone area was associated with maternal diet, but no other measure of bone mass at age 11. After adjustment for height, associations were not significant.

These data highlight that whilst some nutritional factors during pregnancy are associated with offspring linear growth in utero and childhood, this does not necessarily translate into an effect on offspring bone measures in childhood.