“Low compliance with dietary recommendations in pregnant women”


The health effects of mother’s diet during pregnancy have been widely proved for both the mother and the child. Supplements of substances such as folic acid, iron and calcium, whose effects are widely known, are usually recommended during this period; however, the effects of many others elements are still unknown.

Due to their biochemical characteristics, it is accepted that antioxidants, present in fruits and vegetables, are important components of a healthy diet, and may have a beneficial effect on the health of both the mother and the child. Therefore, guides usually recommend their intake. However, previous studies pointed a lack of compliance with such recommendations among pregnant women, and as a result a possible lack of micronutrients during pregnancy.

To assess this fact a new study was designed, in which 2,585 pregnant women from four different coastal regions of Spain participated between 2003 and 2008.

The results showed that the percentage of pregnant women who did not accomplish recommendations of cereals and vegetables (3-4 servings per day) was 70{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b}, fruit intake (2-3 servings per day) 39.2{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b}, vegetables (2-4 servings per day) was 47.3{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} and dairy products(3-4 servings per day) 51.6{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b}. The intake was higher in older women and in women who performed some physical activity while women with overweight and obesity had a lower intake.

Adjusting by socio-economic characteristics, the results showed a higher intake of fruits and vegetables in non-Spanish women, and also a higher intake of these products in highly educated women.

The study showed that sedentary and low educated women had lower intake of vitamins and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, and therefore a higher risk of lacking some micronutrients during this period.

The correct dietary compliance during pregnancy is conditioned as well by the presence and implementation of public policies. Given these results, the health programs need to be revised aimed at informing pregnant women about the recommended diet during this period.

Reference: Villar-Vidal M, Amiano P, Rodriguez-Bernal C, Santa Marina L, Mozo I, Vioque J, Navarrete-Muñoz EM, Romaguera D, Valvi D, Fernandez Samoano A, Tardon A, Ibarluzea J. Compliance of nutritional recommendations of Spanish pregnant women according to sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics: a cohort study. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Apr 1;31(n04):1803-1812.