Nutritional intake and dietary patterns in pregnancy: A longitudinal study of women with lifetime eating disorders

Nadia Micali, Kate Northstone, Pauline Emmett, Ulrike Naumann, Janet L. Treasure

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25 Scopus citations


There is limited knowledge about dietary patterns and nutrient/food intake during pregnancy in women with lifetime eating disorders (ED). The objective of the present study was to determine patterns of food and nutrient intake in women with lifetime ED as part of an existing longitudinal population-based cohort: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Women with singleton pregnancies and no lifetime psychiatric disorders other than ED (n 9723) were compared with women who reported lifetime (ever) ED: (anorexia nervosa (AN, n 151), bulimia nervosa (BN, n 186) or both (AN+BN, n 77)). Women reported usual food consumption using a FFQ at 32 weeks of gestation. Nutrient intakes, frequency of consumption of food groups and overall dietary patterns were examined. Women with lifetime ED were compared with control women using linear regression and logistic regression (as appropriate) after adjustment for relevant covariates, and for multiple comparisons. Women with lifetime ED scored higher on the 'vegetarian' dietary pattern; they had a lower intake of meat, which was compensated by a higher consumption of soya products and pulses compared with the controls. Lifetime AN increased the risk for a high (≥2500g/week) caffeine consumption in pregnancy. No deficiencies in mineral and vitamin intake were evident across the groups, although small differences were observed in macronutrient intakes. In conclusion, despite some differences in food group consumption, women with lifetime ED had similar patterns of nutrient intake to healthy controls. Important differences in relation to meat eating and vegetarianism were highlighted, as well as high caffeine consumption. These differences might have an important impact on fetal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2093-2099
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Eating disorders
  • Nutrition
  • Pregnancy


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