Energy and nutrients in self-reported diet before and at week 18-22 of pregnancy
Background: A satisfactory nutritional status, as a result of optimal food intake, before conception and
during pregnancy, is important for a successful pregnancy.
Objective: To evaluate the energy and nutrient intake before conception and at mid-gestation in a group of
pregnant women (n=50) in relation to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR).
Design: Pre-pregnant diet was studied by an 84-item food-frequency questionnaire and mid-gestational diet
by repeated 24 h dietary recalls.
Results : Average requirements (AR) were met for all nutrients except for selenium intake before pregnancy.
Absolute intakes were below recommended intake (RI) according to NNR for folate, vitamin D, selenium,
vitamin E and iron both before and at mid-gestation. However, intakes were still above the lower intake levels
(LI) defined by NNR for almost all women. Twenty-three women were below LI for selenium before
pregnancy and five for each of vitamin D and selenium at mid-gestation. When expressed as nutrient densities
(amount of nutrient per energy unit), intakes were below NNR for folate, vitamin D and selenium before
pregnancy, and for folate, vitamin D and iron at mid-gestation. Intakes were adjusted for underreporting,
estimated to 20% as revealed after comparing energy intake/basal metabolic rate with grouped physical
activity level values.
Conclusions: The reported food intake satisfied the recommended level of intake according to AR, but when
using RI for planning a diet as a reference, folate, vitamin D, selenium and iron intake were insufficient. Most
striking were the low levels of folate and vitamin D intake both before pregnancy and at mid-gestation.
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