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Many U.S. pregnant women aren't getting the right nutrients

Many U.S. pregnant women aren't getting the right nutrients



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The study, published in JAMA Network Open, analyzed national survey data on more than 1,000 pregnant women. Each woman answered questions about their food intake and use of supplements on two different days.

Almost half of the women didn't get enough magnesium, vitamin D, or vitamin E, and about a third were low in iron, the researchers found. More than 1 in 10 women didn't get enough vitamin A, folate, calcium, or vitamin C.

At the same time, a whopping 95 percent of women consumed too much sodium. About a third of the women got too much folic acid and iron.

Most of the women surveyed were taking a prenatal supplement. That's a good thing, because it likely helped them make up for some of the nutritional deficiencies in their diets, the authors concluded. But, some of the supplements may have also contributed to the women getting too much of some nutrients, such as folic acid and iron, they wrote.

The study relied on the women accurately recalling and reporting their food and supplement use, so the results may not be entirely accurate. Also, the researchers didn't measure the actual amount of nutrients in the women's blood, which would have provided more-reliable data on what vitamins and minerals their bodies where actually absorbing.

Speaking to Reuters, epidemiology and nutrition expert Linda Van Horn, of Northwestern University, said the results of the study aren't surprising. "Most Americans don't eat the right amount of nutrients, and pregnant women are no different," she said.

Good nutrition during pregnancy is important for your developing baby's health, as well as for yours. If you're concerned about your pregnancy diet, here are a few suggestions:

  • Find ways to eat less salt (check out the American Heart Association's advice on reducing sodium in your diet)
  • Consult with a dietitian or your healthcare provider about how to eat healthily and improve your nutrition.
  • Don't stop taking prenatal supplements – just ask your provider to recommend a brand that's right for you.
  • Check out information from our site about the pregnancy nutrients you need to help your baby grow and the basics of eating well during pregnancy.

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Watch the video: A Registered Dietitian Shares Her Pregnancy Tips (August 2022).

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