Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Noreen Schvaneveldt


Noreen Schvaneveldt


Deloy Hendricks


Anne Austin


Maria Norton


The purpose of this study was to determine and evaluate the dietary intake of pregnant women living in this geographical area, evaluate how their diets related to their iron status, how their nutrient intakes compared with other studies, and how their iron status and diet affected infant iron status and development, as assessed by the Bayley Scale of Infant Development.

The study involved 32 pregnant women who were between 8 to 14 weeks gestation and 20 to 35 years of age. They were followed through pregnancy and their infants were followed until three months of age.

Three-day dietary records, a questionnaire and a blood sample were completed at the initial visit (8 to 14 weeks gestation). Six of the nutrients analyzed were consumed in amounts less than the Recommended Dietary Allowances: iron 77%, magnesium 58%, zinc 51%, vitamin B6 65%, folacin 30% and pantothenic acid 89%. Use of a prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement was beneficial in increasing most of these nutrients to within acceptable range. Zinc was not included in the supplement and thus remained at 51% of the RDA. Magnesium was increased to 80% of the RDA. Nutrient intakes were very similar to the USDA Nationwide Food Consumption Survey for pregnant women (1985). Mean iron status of the subjects was within acceptable range.

A food frequency questionnaire and a blood sample were analyzed at 32 weeks gestation. Iron and vitamin C intake remained fairly constant throughout pregnancy. Fifty-six percent of the subjects had become depleted of iron stores at this time.

Cord blood analysis revealed a relationship between maternal iron status and infant iron status at birth.

Infant iron status and diet were analyzed at three months gestational stage. Infant iron status appeared to be within normal range.

Maternal iron status and diet did not have a significant effect on infant iron status or infant development as assessed by the Bayley Scale of Infant Development.