For the study, the researchers assessed the dietary intake and psychosocial characteristics of 134 women who had low-risk, normal pregnancies. The psychosocial factors examined included stress, anxiety, depressed mood, anger, fatigue and social support.
According to the study, women who were more fatigued during pregnancy reported higher consumption of energy foods and zinc. They also reported lower intakes of folate. Women who reported feeling stressed ate more breads and snack foods containing fats, proteins, iron and zinc. Anxious feelings were associated with a lower intake of vitamin C. Women who felt hassled by the pregnancy experience reported eating less meat.
The study findings remained significant after the researchers calculated for maternal age, education, body mass index and other factors. However, they did not find a relationship between eating and a depressed mood, anger or social support.
"Our research may provide fresh insights about factors related to dietary intake during pregnancy and open new avenues for increasing the effectiveness of nutrition programs," said Caulfield.