Mature human milk is primarily composed of carbohydrates and lipids with some protein and minerals. Research has shown that the specific nutrient ratios within human milk are regulated by the mother’s body for the proper development of fetus during pregnancy and infant after birth. Due to the importance of maternal milk for fetal development, there is a need for further investigation on how maternal actions, such as diet, impact the nutrient composition.
The Healthy eating index (HEI) has emerged as a feasible method to evaluate how adult dietary patterns impact health outcomes. The goal of this proposal is to investigate how maternal HEI during 3rd trimester of pregnancy contributes to the composition of human milk at 2-weeks postpartum.
To address the goal of this proposal, I will use HEI score as a predictor for the composition of human milk with a focus on lipids, carbohydrates, and minerals. Data specific to this research proposal include multi-day self-reported dietary records that mothers will complete at 36-38 weeks of pregnancy and human breast milk samples that are collected after 2-weeks postpartum.