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First Trimester Dietary Intake, Biochemical Measures, and Subsequent Gestational Hypertension Among Nulliparous Women


  • Desiree L. Tande PhD, RD, LRD,

  • Jody L. Ralph PhD, RN,

  • LuAnn K. Johnson MS,

  • Angela J. Scheett MPH, RD,

  • Bonita S. Hoverson RD,

  • Cindy M. Anderson PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Cindy M. Anderson, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, University of North Dakota, 430 Oxford Street, Stop 9025, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9025. E-mail:



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships between first-trimester dietary factors and biochemical measures and subsequent risk of gestational hypertension.


This pilot study used a prospective design utilizing a convenience sample of nulliparous women enrolled at their first prenatal visit. A total of 57 women completed the study. Participants were divided into 2 groups for data analysis: normotensive pregnancy and gestational hypertension.


Nearly one-quarter of study participants (22.8%) developed gestational hypertension, of whom 84.6% had significant proteinuria meeting the criteria for preeclampsia. There were no significant differences in micronutrient or macronutrient dietary intakes between groups. Serum iron and zinc levels were lower for the gestational hypertension group compared with the normotensive pregnancy group (P ≤ .01). Low serum zinc levels were related to a risk of developing gestational hypertension (adjusted odds ratio, 0.930; 95% confidence interval, 0.872-0.992).


Ensuring adequate intake of zinc and monitoring serum zinc levels in nulliparous pregnant women may help to prevent or contribute to early detection of gestational hypertension.