This study aimed to assess maternal dietary intake during pregnancy and associated it with the nutritional status of offspring at birth.

Physiological conditions like pregnancy require additional nutrients to meet the demand for fetal growth and maternal tissue expansion. This is a major public health challenge for women and future generations.

Pregnancy increases women’s metabolic demands primarily due to changes in their physiology and the growing fetus. Therefore, insufficient nutrient intake can affect women and their infants.

There are gaps between intakes and requirements for a wide range of micronutrients among women in low and middle-income countries due to their regular diets based on a few staple foods, which puts them at risk of micronutrient malnutrition.

Women in resource-emerging countries are prone to micronutrient and macronutrient deficiencies, leading to low birth weight infants with higher morbidity and mortality rates.

A lack of energy and micronutrients in pregnancy can result in intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, preterm birth, congenital disabilities, reductions in the child’s mental and physical potential, and neonatal death.

In addition, those from lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to experience extreme environmental conditions and receive substandard health care, which exacerbates these problems.

To ensure optimal health for women during and before pregnancy, it is essential to provide them with a diet that contains all vital micronutrients and macronutrients in the right amounts. In addition, interventions should maximize the mother’s health before and during pregnancy.

An important aspect of diet quality is dietary diversity, which is strongly related to nutritional adequacy. However, there is very little information regarding dietary intake and variety during pregnancy and how it affects pregnancy outcomes and infant nutrition. Therefore, to assess maternal dietary intake during pregnancy and its relation to infant nutritional status, the present study attempted to do so.

Results of the Study

The experts found all food groups to be below the recommended diet intake by pregnant women. For example, nearly 14% and 28% of pregnant women received less than 70% of the recommended dietary intake for cereals and pulses, respectively.

Additionally, the average intake of all nutrients was less than the recommended dietary allowances. Nearly half of pregnant women and three-quarters of pregnant women received 70% of the guided energy and protein. More than half of pregnant women (54.2%) failed to meet minimum dietary diversity standards.

During pregnancy, infant weight increased consistently as calorie and protein intake increased. In addition, newborns’ anthropometric measurements (weight, length, and MUAC) were significantly correlated with maternal nutrient intake during pregnancy (energy, protein, and micronutrients like riboflavin, niacin, and B6).

The present study showed insufficient food consumption and poor dietary diversity among pregnant women. These factors lead to an inadequate intake of macronutrients and micronutrients.

There was a significant correlation between dietary intake during pregnancy and infant nutrition, and a high prevalence of low birth weight was observed. Therefore, policymakers need to ensure that pregnant women have enough food and access to high-quality and nutritious diets to ensure that they do not go hungry.

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