To develop a profile of common nutritional patterns among pregnant African American women that will assist healthcare providers in identifying areas for improvement and change.
This study was part of a larger NIH-funded (R03NR008548-01) study that examined risk factors associated with preterm labor and birth in high- and low-risk African American women. Data were collected on high-risk mothers (women experiencing preterm labor) before 34 weeks gestation and every 4 weeks until birth. Data were also collected on the low-risk mothers beginning at 28 weeks and then every 4 weeks until birth. For this study, high- and low-risk groups were collapsed to examine food choices over time in all participants (n = 58).
Nutrition intake was examined by conducting one 24-hour diet recall at each time point. Food models and portion size pictures were used to improve accuracy.
Overall, dietary intake was suboptimal, and micro- and macronutrient intake during the third trimester did not vary. Energy (caloric) intake was inadequate with the time-averaged probability of having inadequate caloric intake 64.4%. Protein intake was the most likely nutritional factor to be inadequate with a time-averaged estimated probability of inadequate intake 25.1%. Micronutrient intake from food was also inadequate.
The persistence of suboptimal nutritional intake during the third trimester supports the importance of continually assessing nutritional status throughout pregnancy, with a focus on caloric requirements and protein intake.
Women at high risk for preterm labor and birth were found to have inadequate nutrition for both micronutrients and macronutrients.
Susan Gennaro is Dean and Professor, Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babette Biesecker is a Coordinator Adult Nurse Practitioner/Holistic Nurse Practitioner Program, New York University, College of Nursing.
Heidi Collins Fantasia is a Post Doctoral Fellow, Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Minh Nguyen is a Staff Nurse, Providence Health Center, Waco, Tex.
David Garry is an Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Womens Health and director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, NY.
This study was funded by NIH Grant No. R03NR008548-01.
The authors have disclosed that there are no financial relationships related to this article.