Dietary intake and use of dietary supplements in relation to demographic variables among pregnant Finnish women.Br J Nutr 2006; 96(5):913-20BJ
Proper nutrition during pregnancy may be important for maternal health and fetal growth and development. In Finland, targeted recommendations are given to guide pregnant women in their food choice and dietary supplement use so that they may obtain adequate nutritional status and meet the increased need for nutrients. The aims of the present study were to examine food choices, nutrient intake and dietary supplement use of pregnant Finnish women in association with demographic variables. One thousand and seventy-five families were invited to a birth cohort study during 1998-9. Mothers of 797 newborns completed a validated 181-item food-frequency questionnaire from which the food and nutrient intakes were calculated. The information about supplement use was collected concerning the whole pregnancy. The results of the present study suggest that healthy food choices are rather common among pregnant Finnish women and the choices are positively correlated with age and education. Nutrient supplements were used by 85 % of the women. Supplements were favoured by the older and well-educated women and by those who had normal weight before pregnancy. Of the women in the present study, 31 % received vitamin A-containing supplements, although it is not recommended during pregnancy. Taking food and supplementation into account, the intake of vitamin D did not meet the dietary recommendation and folic acid intake was below recommendation in 44 % of the women. Therefore there seemed to be unnecessary nutrient supplementation and at the same time lack of relevant supplementation among these pregnant women.