In the Journals

Improved dietary guidance, vitamin supplements needed for pregnant women

A significant number of pregnant women in the United States did not consume enough of some essential nutrients, but consumed too much of others, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

The findings indicate that improved dietary guidance is needed to help pregnant women use supplements to meet dietary goals without exceeding them, according to study authors.

“Although nutrient intakes should preferably come from a variety of food sources, it is unlikely that pregnant women and those of childbearing age meet their needs for some nutrients through diet alone,” Regan L. Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD, of the department of nutrition science at Purdue University, and colleagues wrote. “As such, prenatal dietary supplements are generally recommended during pregnancy and were used by about 75% of pregnant women in a nationally representative U.S. sample.”

To evaluate dietary consumption in pregnant women, researchers collected and analyzed 2001 to 2014 data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. The survey is a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of U.S. residents that consists of an in-person household interview, a health examination in a mobile examination center and a follow-up phone interview. Sociodemographic data, smoking status and physical activity were collected during the survey. Women aged 20 to 40 years who were not lactating were included in the study.

Pregnant Woman 
A significant number of pregnant women in the United States did not consume enough of some essential nutrients, but consumed too much of others, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.
Source: Shutterstock

Information on dietary supplements was collected during the home interview, where researchers took inventory of supplement products and asked about supplements used in the previous 30 days.

Participants gave a 24-hour dietary recall during the medical examination and again during the follow-up phone interview. Data from dietary recalls were used in statistical analyses to determine dietary intake throughout pregnancy.

A total of 1,003 pregnant women with a mean age of 28 years, most of whom used a dietary supplement (mean = 69.8%), were included in the study. Among participants, 10% consumed less than the recommended amounts of magnesium (mean = 47.5%), vitamin D (mean = 46.4%), vitamin E (mean = 43.3%), vitamin A (mean = 15.5%) vitamin C (mean = 11.5%), vitamin B6 (mean = 11.5%), iron (mean = 36.2%), folate (mean = 16.4%), calcium (mean = 12.9%) and zinc (mean = 10.9%).

Some women exceeded the adequate intake for potassium (mean = 41.7%), choline (mean = 7.9%), and vitamin K (mean = 47.9%) during pregnancy.

Researchers found that most women exceeded the tolerable level of sodium, (mean = 95%) and some women exceeded the tolerable intake of folic acid (mean = 33.4%), iron (mean = 27.9%), calcium (mean = 3.0%) and zinc (mean = 7.1%).

The prevalence of at-risk iron intake from food consumption was lower in women who used supplements (mean = 80.3%) than in women who did not use supplements (mean = 95.3%), but researchers noted that women who took supplements were at an increased risk for excessive iron and folic acid intake due to the amount consumed in supplemental products.

“It appears that supplements may be necessary for most pregnant women to meet nutrient recommendations; however, our findings suggest that responsible formulations of prenatal products could help women achieve recommended intakes without the potential for excess,” Bailey and colleagues wrote. – by Erin Michael

Disclosures: Bailey reported serving as a consultant to Nutrition Impact LLC, Nestle/ Gerber, RTI International, and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Please see study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

A significant number of pregnant women in the United States did not consume enough of some essential nutrients, but consumed too much of others, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

The findings indicate that improved dietary guidance is needed to help pregnant women use supplements to meet dietary goals without exceeding them, according to study authors.

“Although nutrient intakes should preferably come from a variety of food sources, it is unlikely that pregnant women and those of childbearing age meet their needs for some nutrients through diet alone,” Regan L. Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD, of the department of nutrition science at Purdue University, and colleagues wrote. “As such, prenatal dietary supplements are generally recommended during pregnancy and were used by about 75% of pregnant women in a nationally representative U.S. sample.”

To evaluate dietary consumption in pregnant women, researchers collected and analyzed 2001 to 2014 data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. The survey is a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of U.S. residents that consists of an in-person household interview, a health examination in a mobile examination center and a follow-up phone interview. Sociodemographic data, smoking status and physical activity were collected during the survey. Women aged 20 to 40 years who were not lactating were included in the study.

Pregnant Woman 
A significant number of pregnant women in the United States did not consume enough of some essential nutrients, but consumed too much of others, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.
Source: Shutterstock

Information on dietary supplements was collected during the home interview, where researchers took inventory of supplement products and asked about supplements used in the previous 30 days.

Participants gave a 24-hour dietary recall during the medical examination and again during the follow-up phone interview. Data from dietary recalls were used in statistical analyses to determine dietary intake throughout pregnancy.

A total of 1,003 pregnant women with a mean age of 28 years, most of whom used a dietary supplement (mean = 69.8%), were included in the study. Among participants, 10% consumed less than the recommended amounts of magnesium (mean = 47.5%), vitamin D (mean = 46.4%), vitamin E (mean = 43.3%), vitamin A (mean = 15.5%) vitamin C (mean = 11.5%), vitamin B6 (mean = 11.5%), iron (mean = 36.2%), folate (mean = 16.4%), calcium (mean = 12.9%) and zinc (mean = 10.9%).

Some women exceeded the adequate intake for potassium (mean = 41.7%), choline (mean = 7.9%), and vitamin K (mean = 47.9%) during pregnancy.

Researchers found that most women exceeded the tolerable level of sodium, (mean = 95%) and some women exceeded the tolerable intake of folic acid (mean = 33.4%), iron (mean = 27.9%), calcium (mean = 3.0%) and zinc (mean = 7.1%).

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The prevalence of at-risk iron intake from food consumption was lower in women who used supplements (mean = 80.3%) than in women who did not use supplements (mean = 95.3%), but researchers noted that women who took supplements were at an increased risk for excessive iron and folic acid intake due to the amount consumed in supplemental products.

“It appears that supplements may be necessary for most pregnant women to meet nutrient recommendations; however, our findings suggest that responsible formulations of prenatal products could help women achieve recommended intakes without the potential for excess,” Bailey and colleagues wrote. – by Erin Michael

Disclosures: Bailey reported serving as a consultant to Nutrition Impact LLC, Nestle/ Gerber, RTI International, and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Please see study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.