Background: A woman's nutritional status before conception and during pregnancy is important for maternal health and the health of the foetus. The aim of the study was to compare diet intake in early pregnant women with non-pregnant women. Methods: Between September 2006 and March 2009, 226 women in early pregnancy were consecutively recruited at five antenatal clinics in Northern Sweden. Referent women (n = 211) were randomly selected from a current health screening project running in the same region (the Vasterbotten Intervention Program; VIP). We collected diet data with a self-reported validated food frequency questionnaire with 66 food items/food aggregates, and information on portion size, alcohol consumption, and supplement intake. Data were analysed using descriptive, comparative statistics and multivariate partial least square modelling. Results: Intake of folate and vitamin D from foods was generally low for both groups. Intake of folate and vitamin D supplements was generally high in the pregnant group and led to significantly higher total estimated intake of vitamin D and folate in the pregnant group. Iron intake from foods tended to be lower in pregnant women although iron supplement intake evened out the difference with respect to iron intake from foods only. Energy intake was slightly lower in pregnant women but not significant, a reflection of that they reported consuming significantly less of potatoes/rice/pasta, meat/fish, and vegetables (grams/day) than the women in the referent group. Conclusions: In the present study, women in early pregnancy reported less intake of vegetables, potatoes, meat, and alcohol than non-pregnant women. As they also had a low intake (below the Nordic Nutritional Recommendations) of folate, vitamin D, and iron from foods, some of these women and their unborn children are possibly at risk for adverse effects on the pregnancy and birth outcome.
2014. Vol. 14, 373- p.