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Micronutrient Gaps and Supplement Use in a Diverse Cohort of Pregnant Women

Micronutrition in pregnancy is critical to impact not only fetal growth and development but also long-term physical and psychiatric health outcomes. Objective: Estimate micronutrient intake from food and dietary supplements in a diverse cohort of pregnant women and compare intake to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Design: Secondary analysis of women enrolled in a multi-site clinical trial of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation who provided their dietary intake using the diet history questionnaire-II (n = 843) or multiple 24 h recalls (n = 178) at baseline and their intake of nutritional supplements at baseline through 30 days postpartum. Participants/Setting: 1021 participants from the parent trial who had reliable data for dietary intake, supplement intake, or both. Main outcome measures: Micronutrient intake from dietary and supplement sources and percentage of intakes meeting the DRIs for pregnancy. Statistical analyses performed: Percent of participants whose intake was below the estimated average requirement (EAR) or adequate intake (AI) and above the tolerable upper limit (UL). Results: Dietary intakes of choline, folate, iron, vitamin D, zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, were below the AI or EAR for 30–91% of the participants; thiamin and vitamin B6 were also below the AI or EAR for non-Hispanic/Latina women. Supplement intake improved the intake for most; however, 80% of the group remained below the AI for choline and 52.5% for potassium while 30% remained below the EAR for magnesium. Folate and iron intakes were above the UL for 80% and 19%, respectively. Conclusions: Dietary supplements, despite their variability, allowed the majority of this cohort of pregnant women to achieve adequate intakes for most micronutrients. Choline, magnesium, and potassium were exceptions. Of interest, folate intake was above the tolerable UL for the majority and iron for 16.8% of the participants. Clinicians have the opportunity to address the most common nutrient deficits and limits with advice on food sources that provide choline, magnesium, and potassium and to ensure folate is not overabundant. More research is needed to determine if these findings are similar in a cross-sectional population.

Nutrients Crawford et al. July 2023
  • Global
  • Research
  • Scientific publication