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Keywords:

  • pregnancy;
  • postpartum;
  • micronutrients;
  • dietary guidelines

Abstract

Micronutrient status is of fundamental importance both upon conception and throughout pregnancy. There is an abundance of literature investigating nutrient intakes during individual trimesters of pregnancy but few studies have investigated baseline intakes of nutrients throughout gestation as a continuum. The current investigation set out to measure habitual micronutrient intakes at weeks 13, 25, 35 of pregnancy and 6 weeks postpartum using a prospective background information questionnaire, 4–7-day weighed food diary and postnatal questionnaire. Seventy-two primiparous, Caucasian Londoners were recruited at the study start with 42 completing the first, second, third trimester and postpartum study stages respectively. Study findings indicated that sodium intakes were significantly higher than UK guidelines throughout and after pregnancy (P < 0.001). Intakes of folate, iron, vitamin D, potassium, iodine and selenium were lower than UK recommendations during and after pregnancy, but to varying levels of statistical significance (P < 0.05). Only 23–38% of women met UK recommendations for folate (300 µg day−1) through dietary sources. Similarly, only a small percentage of women met dietary guidelines for iron (19–28%). The findings from the current study indicate that public health interventions may be required to help expectant mothers achieve an optimal diet, particularly after birth when dietary recommendations increase for some micronutrients.