Maternal nutrient intakes from food and drinks consumed in early pregnancy in Ireland

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Abstract

Background

The aim of this observational study was to measure food, macronutrient and micronutrient intakes of women presenting for antenatal care and assess compliance with current nutritional recommendations.

Methods

Women were recruited in the first trimester of pregnancy. Maternal weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) calculated. Body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Maternal energy and nutrient intakes were estimated using a validated Willett Food Frequency Questionnaire and misreporting of energy intakes (EI) determined.

Results

Plausible EIs were reported in 402 women. Mean age, weight and BMI were 30.8 years, 67.1 kg and 24.6 kg/m2 respectively. Median EIs were 2111 kcal, and median protein, carbohydrate and fat intakes were 17.3, 48.1 and 36.2 g/MJ/day, respectively. More than 90% of women exceeded the recommended daily allowance for saturated fat. Nearly all of the women (99%) did not meet estimated average requirements (EAR) for vitamin D. One in three women failed to achieve a dietary folate intake of 400 μg/day. Over one in five women failed to meet the EAR for iron, and 14% failed to achieve the EAR for calcium.

Conclusions

Our findings highlight concerning deficits in nutrient intakes among women and will help guide professional dietary advice to women attending for future obstetric care in Ireland.

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