Nutrition and mental health in early pregnancy: a pilot study.

Research paper by Eileen R ER Fowles, Christina C Murphey

Indexed on: 31 Dec '08Published on: 31 Dec '08Published in: Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health


A pilot study was conducted to explore the dietary quality and maternal psychosocial status during the early weeks of pregnancy in a convenience sample of women (N = 13) recruited from two Planned Parenthood Clinics. Women were between 19 and 31 years of age, having their first pregnancy, and were on average 7 weeks pregnant. Average caloric intake was 2653 kcal/day consisting of 34% fat. Six of the women had inadequate intake of calcium (x = 800 mg) and 11 had low iron intake (x = 20 mg). Dietary Quality Index-Pregnancy scores were below recommendations and six women had scores indicating a major depression. Dietary intakes of these low-income women early in pregnancy did not meet recommendations for pregnancy. Identifying factors that are related to poor dietary intake, such as low-income and the presence of depression, in early pregnancy may promote timely recognition of women in need of comprehensive monitoring throughout the pregnancy.