Dietary Supplement Use during Preconception: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

Nutrients. 2017 Oct 13;9(10):1119. doi: 10.3390/nu9101119.


Worldwide, dietary supplement use among reproductive aged women is becoming increasingly common. The aim of this study was to investigate dietary supplement use among Australian women during preconception. Self-reported data were collected prospectively for the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). The sample included 485 women aged 31-36 years, with supplement data, classified as preconception when completing Survey 5 of the ALSWH in 2009. Frequency and contingency tables were calculated and Pearson's chi-square test for associations between demographic variables and supplementation status was performed. Sixty-three per cent of women were taking at least one dietary supplement during preconception. Multiple-micronutrient supplements were the most commonly reported supplement (44%). Supplements containing folic acid and iodine were reported by 51% and 37% of preconception women, respectively. Folic acid (13%), omega-3 fatty acids (11%), vitamin C (7%), B vitamins (4%), iron (3%), and calcium (3%) were the most common single nutrients supplemented during preconception. Women trying to conceive, with no previous children, and born outside Australia were more likely to take dietary supplements. In Australia, dietary supplement use during preconception is relatively high. However, supplementation of recommended nutrients, including folic acid and iodine, could be improved.

Keywords: dietary supplements; maternal; multivitamins; preconception.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Preconception Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproduction*
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Self Report
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health*