BACKGROUND & AIMS: Pregnancy is characterized by a complexity of metabolic processes that may impact fetal health and development. Women's nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is considered important for both mother and infant. This review aims to investigate the significant role of fatty acids and carnitine during pregnancy and lactation in specific groups of pregnant and lactating women. METHODS: The literature was reviewed using relevant data bases (e.g. Pubmed, Scopus, Science Direct) and relevant articles were selected to provide information and data for the text and associated Tables. RESULTS: Dynamic features especially of plasma carnitine profile during pregnancy and lactation, indicate an extraordinarily active participation of carnitine in the intermediary metabolism both in pregnant woman and in neonate and may also have implications for health and disease later in life. Maternal diets rich in trans and saturated fatty acids can lead to impairments in the metabolism and development of the offspring, whereas the consumption of long chain-polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy plays a beneficial physiologic and metabolic role in the health of offspring. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant women who are underweight, overweight or obese, with gestational diabetes mellitus or diabetes mellitus and those who choose vegan/vegetarian diets or are coming from socially disadvantaged areas, should be nutritionally supported to achieve a higher quality diet during pregnancy and/or lactation.