What do pregnant women eat, and are they meeting the recommended dietary requirements for pregnancy? Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To compare the dietary intake of pregnant women to the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and explore factors associated with inadequate intake. DESIGN:Dietary intake data were collected between July 2011 and July 2012 (n = 1570) using a 74-item food frequency questionnaire. SETTING:Metropolitan public health hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS:Pregnant women, at least 16 years of age, with a singleton pregnancy, and literate in English. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS:The highest proportion of women met the recommended daily servings for fruit (65.7%), followed by dairy products (55.2%), meat/meat alternatives (31.1%), vegetables (10.3%), and then grain foods (1.8%). A majority of women (83.8%) regularly consumed up to 2.5 serves of discretionary foods per day. Only one woman met the minimum recommended daily servings for all five food groups. Women who were obese were more likely to consume an inadequate diet (Adj. OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.53, 2.95); and having a university degree was associated with a lower odds of consuming an inadequate diet (Adj. OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.50, 0.78). KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:Pregnancy care providers need to be aware of women's low compliance with the national dietary guidelines, particularly regarding the poor intake of vegetables and grain foods; targeted as well as population-based approaches may be required.

publication date

  • 2018