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Prenatal Depression and Diet Quality During Pregnancy
Background Maternal nutrition during pregnancy has a significant effect on the health
of the offspring and mother, highlighting the need for identifying factors that may affect
diet during pregnancy. Research in nonpregnant and pregnant populations suggest
depression may play a role.
Objective To investigate the relationship between prenatal depression and diet quality
during pregnancy overall and by race/ethnicity and to explore the relationships between
prenatal depression and the 12 Healthy Eating Index 2010 dietary components.
Design A cross-sectional secondary analysis of a cohort study of Kaiser Permanente
Northern California women entering prenatal care between October 2011 and
Participants/setting Participants included 1,160 adult pregnant women.
Main outcome measures Poor diet quality was defined as a Healthy Eating Index 2010
score in the lowest quartile.
Statistical analyses performed Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship
between prenatal depression (defined as a depression diagnosis, Patient Health Questionnaire
score of 10 or greater or antidepressant medication dispensing between the
last menstrual period and completion of the food frequency questionnaire) and poor
diet quality overall and by race/ethnicity. Relationships between prenatal depression
and each of the 12 Healthy Eating Index 2010 dietary components were assessed using
t-tests and linear regression analyses.
Results One hundred fifty-nine (14%) participants had prenatal depression. Women
with prenatal depression had nearly two times the odds of poor diet quality (odds ratio
1.80, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.60) compared with women without prenatal depression, after
adjusting for potential confounders. Differences emerged by race/ethnicity; after
adjusting for potential confounders the adjusted odds of poor diet quality were significant
only among Hispanic women. Hispanic women with prenatal depression had an
increased odds of poor diet quality compared with Hispanic women without prenatal
depression (odds ratio 2.66, 95% CI 1.15 to 6.06).Women with prenatal depression had a
higher consumption of empty calories (from solid fats, alcohol, and added sugars;
threshold for counting alcohol >13 g/1,000 kcal) (P¼0.01) and lower consumption of
greens and beans (P<0.05), total fruit (P<0.01), and whole fruit (P<0.01), compared
with women without prenatal depression. Except for empty calories, these findings
remained after adjusting for potential confounders.
Conclusions Study findings suggest that women with prenatal depression are at a
higher risk of poor diet quality compared with women without prenatal depression, and
the relationship is stronger among Hispanic women. Nutrition counseling interventions
for women with depression should consider the use of culturally sensitive materials and
target limiting empty calories from solid fats, alcohol, and added sugars and encourage
eating more greens, beans, and fruit.
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020;120(6):972-984.
Prenatal depression and diet quality
Agree. Also, timely topic in…
Agree. Also, timely topic in the current quarantine state right now.
Thank you for the share Liz. This highlights why the need for increased collaboration between professionals. Dietitians also have a role play identifying symptoms of depression in clients/patients and referring for mental health support. At the same time it is very helpful to know what to nutritional issues people with depression present with.