Spanish Mediterranean women have a poor diet during pregnancy


Although the Mediterranean diet has been considered, traditionally, one of the most richest and balanced, a study by researchers at the INMA cohort in Valencia, has shown that in this Spanish Mediterranean area, pregnant women have an inadequate nutrition.

The study, led to analyze food and nutrient intake, and compliance with nutritional recommendations for pregnant women, has shown that the majority of women in gestation period has inadequate intakes of certain food groups, macronutrients and micronutrients that are important during pregnancy.

very high percentage of women who participated in the study, -more than 75{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} – showed intakes of cereals and legumes, and to a lesser extent, -about 50{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} – of fruits and vegetables, under the appropriate . Regarding macronutrients, the study reveals that over 50{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} of women had inadequate intakes of carbohydrates and fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, while about 70{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} exceeded the recommended fat intake. The major deficiencies in micronutrient intake were found in vitamin D, folic acid and Fe. The study reveals that although folic acid supplementation improved the appropriateness of the recommendations in most women, also made that 1 in 4 women will exceed the maximum consumption of folic acid to be safe, because it was taken in doses very high. For other nutrients, such as vitamin D, iron and vitamin E (whose dietary intakes were inadequate in at least 68{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} of women), the supplements did not supply this deficiency.

A significant percentage of women presenting
an intake pregnantin sufficient number of nutrients
that are important during pregnancy “

The study also reveals that dietary deficiencies vary significantly according to sociodemographic characteristics of women. Thus, older women consumed more vegetables, more young women with a basic level of education showed a lower intake of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients and, instead, consumed more trans fatty acids. Regarding the country of origin, the study finds that women of Spanish origin eat fewer fruits and carbohydrates that foreign women, and exceed the recommendations for total fat at a rate much higher than foreign. They also tend to follow a diet rich in protein and beneficial fatty acids and monounsaturated fats and omega-3. Latin American women consume omega 3 below and recommendations from other sources (mainly Eastern European) consume more trans fats.

Given that several studies have shown that certain dietary deficiencies during pregnancy can cause serious problems for the mother and baby (preterm labor, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, deficiencies in cognitive development or allergic disorders in infancy), the results of this study shown the need to promote, among women of childbearing age and during pregnancy, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and other plant foods such as cereals (preferably integrally) and lesser extent other sources of protein and important nutrients, such as vegetables, poultry, meat (sausages reducing consumption or other processed meats), fish (reducing or avoiding consumption tuna and swordfish or emperor, for its high content of mercury ) eggs and dairy. According to what was observed in this study, the authors note, it is necessary to establish policies to evaluate schemes supplementation during pregnancy to reduce the risks arising from deficient or excessive intakes.

More than 75{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} oof women who participated in the study,
showed intakes of cereals and legumes, and to a lesser extent,
-about 50{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} – of fruits and vegetables, under the appropriate 

The study also warns that although monitoring the nutritional status of all pregnant women is important and is certainly a good starting point, it is also essential to implement intervention programs that take into account the social and cultural contexts, to thereby ensure all women, whatever their age, educational level and its origin, a healthy food environment.

Actually, is currently conducting a similar study, which included women from other regions of Spain belonging to the INMA Project, with the aim of determining compliance with the national nutritional recommendations.