Nutritional aspects of behaviour and biology during pregnancy and postpartum
Sammanfattning: BackgroundA well-balanced nutritious diet is important for the pregnant woman and the growing fetus, as well as for their future health. Poor nutrition results from both over-consumption of energy-rich foods which can lead to a higher weight gain than is healthy and under-nutrition of essential nutrients. Food intake is regulated in complex biological systems by many factors, where steroid hormone is one factor involved.The overall aim of this thesis is to describe dietary intake, vitamin D levels, dietary information and dietary changes, and to study the relation between allopregnanolone and weight gain during pregnancy and postpartum.Methods Study I was a qualitative study with focus group interviews with 23 pregnant women. The text was analysed with content analysis. Study II was a quantitative cross-sectional study conducted in early pregnancy (n=209) with a reference group (n=206). Self-reported dietary data from a questionnaire was analysed using descriptive comparative statistics and a cluster analysis model (Partial Least Squares modelling). Study III had a quantitative longitudinal design. Vitamin D concentrations were analysed in 184 women, collected on five occasions during pregnancy and postpartum. Descriptive comparative statistics and a linear mixed model were used. Study IV was a quantitative longitudinal study with 60 women. Concentrations of allopregnanolone were analysed in gestational week 12 and 35. Descriptive and comparative statistics as well as Spearman’s correlation (rho) were used to describe the relationship between weight gain and allopregnanolone concentrations. Results The focus group interviews showed that women wanted to know more about different foods to reduce any risk for their child but the information about foods was partly up to themselves to find out. They expressedfeelingsof insecurityand guiltif they accidentallyate something“forbidden”. The recommendationswere followedas best as possiblealong withcommon sense todeal with dietchanges. The main themes were “Finding out by oneself”, “Getting professional advice when health problems occur”, “Being uncertain” and “Being responsible with a pinch of salt”. Some differences in the dietary patterns were found among the pregnant women compared to references, with less, vegetables (47 g/day), potatoes/rice/pasta (31 g/day), meat/fish (24 g/day) and intake of alcohol and tobacco/snuff but a higher intake of supplements. Bothpregnant women and referenceshad intakes offolatethrough diet45% (pregnant) and 22% (references) lower than current recommendations(500vs400g/day). Vitamin Dintake was34% lower than the recommendationsof 10mg/day. At least a third of the participants had insufficient plasma levels below 50 nmol/L of vitamin D. Season was a strong factor influencing the longitudinal pattern. Gestational week, season, total energy intake, dietary intake of vitamin D, and multivitamin supplementation over the previous 14 days were factors related to vitamin D levels. A correlation betweenallopregnanoloneconcentrations ingestationalweek 35and weight gainin weeks12–35was seen (p = 0.016). Therewas alsoa correlation betweenthe increase inallopregnanolone(weeks12–35) andweight gain(see above) (p = 0.028). ConclusionsDietary recommendations were described as contradictory and confusing and the dietary advice felt inadequate. The women faced their diet changes and sought information on their own but would have wished for more extensive advice from the midwife. The intake of vitamins essential for pregnancy was lower than recommended, which is also confirmed by low plasma levels of vitamin D in at least one third of the pregnant women. Vitamin D levels peaked in late pregnancy. Aside from gestational week and season which were related to plasma levels, intake from foods and supplements also affected the levels. Reasons for weight gain are complex and depend on many factors. Allopregnanolone is a factor that was seen to relate to the weight gain of the studied pregnant women.
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