Energy metabolism during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and lactation in well nourished Indian women

L.S. Piers

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>The measured basal metabolic rates (BMR) of present day Indian women were found to be comparable to published BMRs, measured in Indian women over 50 years ago, but 7 percent lower than present European/American women. This can possibly be due to differences in body composition or climate. Schofield's equation, used to predict the BMR of women in the 18-30 age group from body weight, was found to over-estimate the BMR of young Indian women by approximately 9 percent. This commonly used equation also overestimates the BMR of young American women by almost 7 percent (Chapter 2). The BMR and the thermic effect of a meal (TEM) was measured in the pre- and post-ovulatory phases of a single menstrual cycle. BMR was not significantly different, however, the TEM was 18.5 percent higher (p&lt; 0.05) during the post-ovulatory phase, as compared to the pre-ovulatory phase of the same menstrual cycle. This increment in the TEM is small in absolute terms and is unlikely to affect the energy requirements of these individuals (Chapter 3). Both pregnancy and lactation are energetically expensive and would appear to require substantial increments in energy intake. However, the measured increment in energy intake rarely appears to be adequate to meet all the costs of pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, saving of energy by an enhancement of the efficiency of maternal energy metabolism was postulated as a possible mechanism by which the costs of pregnancy and lactation are met. Therefore, the BMR and TEM were measured at 12, 24, and 34 weeks of gestation (Chapter 4), as well as, 12 and 24 weeks of lactation (Chapter 5), in a group of well nourished Indian women and compared to a group of non-pregnant, non-lactating controls. No energy saving was associated with either the BMR or TEM during pregnancy or lactation. However, the dietary energy intake, estimated at the same time as the metabolic measurements, appeared to be substantially increased during the last two trimesters of pregnancy and during the initial 24 weeks of lactation; and was apparently adequate to meet the extra energy expenditure associated with pregnancy and lactation.</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hautvast, J.G.A.J., Promotor
  • Shetty, P.S., Promotor, External person
  • van Raaij, J.M.A., Promotor
Award date2 Mar 1994
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054852414
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • nutrition
  • energy requirements
  • metabolism
  • menstruation
  • menopause
  • fertility
  • infertility
  • lactation
  • suckling
  • energy metabolism
  • oxidative phosphorylation
  • respiratory chain
  • nutrition physiology
  • women
  • india

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