Defining Dairy Consumption in Pregnant Women Living in Central Iowa
Although the importance of calcium during pregnancy has been determined, the impact of dairy as a whole is more nebulous. The variety of nutritional composition between dairy sources and the uncertain definition of dairy contribute to the lack of concrete research in this area. This study describes the current intake of pregnant women in central Iowa as a starting place for the discussion of defining dairy’s impact on health. Three-day diet records collected during the second trimester of pregnancy were used to determine the average daily dairy intake and sources of dairy in the diet of pregnant women. Differences in dairy consumption was assessed based on the dairy Healthy Eating Index score. This study found the majority of women did not consume enough dairy to meet MyPlate recommendations and the percentage of dairy coming from milk was greatest in those who consumed the most dairy. Overall, 47% of dairy intake was milk and 40% was cheese. Those with medium and high dairy consumption group consumed more non-fat or low fat milk options rather than 2% or whole milk. To increase dairy consumption in women who are pregnant, an increase in milk consumption should be encouraged.