Nutrition of Black Women During Pregnancy

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To examine the consistency and adequacy of nutritional intake in a population of Black women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.


This was a longitudinal descriptive study. Data were collected from women with low-risk pregnancies at 22- to 24-week prenatal visits and two subsequent visits.


Participants were recruited from urban prenatal clinics in one city in the Northeastern United States.


Pregnant women who self-identified as Black (N = 195).


A 24-hour diet recall was obtained at each of the three study time points. Food models and measuring cups were used to improve the accuracy of portion size reporting. Data from diet recalls were manually entered in Food Processor software to compute nutritional content.


A linear mixed-effects model was used to examine dietary intake. Dietary patterns were stable from the second to the third trimesters, and caloric intake was inadequate. Women met minimal daily requirements for carbohydrate and protein intake, but the overall percentages of fat, protein, and carbohydrates indicated that additional calories needed to come from protein. Although more than 80% of women regularly took prenatal vitamins, micronutrient and fiber intake were consistently inadequate.


Prenatal care to help women identify foods that are rich in fiber, protein, and micronutrients is important for the health of women and newborns. Knowing that nutritional intake is consistently inadequate, nurses can counsel pregnant women whenever they have contact with them to attempt to improve nutritional intake and make women aware of inexpensive nutrient sources.

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