When considering the diet of pregnant women there are several reasons to focus on lipids:
- In our societies, differences between the dietary habits of pregnant women are expressed mostly in terms of fatty acids intakes. There are about 50 edible fatty acids (long, medium or short chains, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega 6, omega 3, omega 9 families, trans fatty acids, etc). The huge individual differences in the ratio between these different fatty acids are characteristics of modern lifestyle. Some unbalances are frequent in our societies (too much saturated fats compared with unsaturated fats, too much omega 6 compared with omega 3, too much trans fatty acids, etc.).
- Cell regulators commonly called prostaglandins are made from polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are three families of prostaglandins, and each family includes several substances. The ratio between the prostaglandins available is influenced by dietary habits. This ratio participates in the regulation of the blood flow reaching the placenta, and therefore in the growth of the fetus. Furthermore prostaglandins are involved in birth physiology.
- Brain development is a priority among humans. At birth the human brain has reach 25% the adult size. This is enormous compared with the rest of the body. The brain is mostly made of fat. The developing brain has specific nutritional needs in terms of fatty acids.
Such considerations explain the reasons for the studies we have conducted about nutrition in pregnancy and also for the studies that are in projects. More details are available in the pages about ‘eclampsia’, and also in ‘new reasons and new ways to prepare the prenatal environment’.