Fetal malnutrition

Nutr Rev. 1973 Jun;31(6):179-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1973.tb05171.x.


PIP: Fetal malnutrition has been associated with maturational defect in cell metabolism. A series of studies on anthropometric and clinical aspects of patients with intrauterine malnutrition was conducted to establish the relationship between intrauterine growth failure and cell function. The 1st study assessed intrauterine growth in 128 cases. 36 infants were found to be small for gestational age and exhibited usual signs of fetal growth retardation. The mothers of these infants were similar with respect to age, weight, height, nutritional patterns, and prior pregnancy histories. The 2nd study determined whether there was a unique pattern for certain cell energy function in leukocytes of mothers and their small-for-gestational age infants at the time of birth, and whether this pattern was the same as that found in infants with severe postnatal protein-calorie malnutrition. The findings showed that the altered pattern of energy metabolism in leukocytes of infants with intrauterine growth retardation was the same as that found in young infants with postnatal protein-calorie malnutrition. The similarity of enzyme pattern in the adenine nucleotide contents of maternal and cord blood leukocytes at time of delivery also supported the interrelationship between energy metabolisms of mothers and their fetuses. The 3rd study suggested that fetal malnutrition may be reflected in placental tissues. These studies may prove useful in developing diagnostic tools for monitoring fetal growth and for establishing criteria for intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Nutrition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Nutrition Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition
  • RNA / metabolism


  • Adenine Nucleotides
  • Blood Proteins
  • RNA
  • DNA