Nutrition and mental health in early pregnancy: a pilot study

J Midwifery Womens Health. Jan-Feb 2009;54(1):73-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.07.013.


A pilot study was conducted to explore the dietary quality and maternal psychosocial status during the early weeks of pregnancy in a convenience sample of women (N = 13) recruited from two Planned Parenthood Clinics. Women were between 19 and 31 years of age, having their first pregnancy, and were on average 7 weeks pregnant. Average caloric intake was 2653 kcal/day consisting of 34% fat. Six of the women had inadequate intake of calcium (x = 800 mg) and 11 had low iron intake (x = 20 mg). Dietary Quality Index-Pregnancy scores were below recommendations and six women had scores indicating a major depression. Dietary intakes of these low-income women early in pregnancy did not meet recommendations for pregnancy. Identifying factors that are related to poor dietary intake, such as low-income and the presence of depression, in early pregnancy may promote timely recognition of women in need of comprehensive monitoring throughout the pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Malnutrition
  • Mental Health*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Iron
  • Calcium