Maternal diet quality influences birth outcomes. Yet, little research exists that assesses women's diet quality during the first trimester of pregnancy, a crucial time of placental and fetal development. This cross-sectional study, describing diet quality and its relationship with stress, depression, social support, and eating habits in the first trimester, may identify low-income women needing intensive dietary intervention. Seventy-one low-income women completed validated instruments measuring stress, depression, social support, and eating habits; had their height and weight measured; received training on portion-size estimation; and completed three 24-hour dietary recalls (1 weekend day and 2 nonconsecutive weekdays) from July 2009 to February 2010. Comparative and correlational analyses were done. Women with diet quality scores below the median (n=35) had more depression (9.6±5.1 vs 6.7±5.1) and stress (22.1±5.4 vs 19.3±4.8) and less control over meal preparation (5.0±1.5 vs 4.2±1.5) and support from others (52.0±12.0 vs 57.4±7.2) than did women with high diet quality scores (n=36). Diet quality was negatively related to depression (r=-0.41), stress (r=-0.35), skipping meals (r=-0.41), and control over meal preparation (r=-0.33), and positively related to support from others (r=0.38). Low-income women experiencing life stressors represent an at-risk group for low diet quality and may need intensive dietary intervention before and during pregnancy. More research designed to improve diet quality in low-income pregnant women is needed.
- Diet quality
- Low income