Consumption of dietary supplements by Chinese women during pregnancy and postpartum : A prospective cohort study

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12435
Journal / PublicationMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number4
Online published10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


The objectives of this study were to investigate usage patterns and factors associated with maternal dietary supplementation by Chinese women. A prospective cohort study of 695 mothers, who gave birth to a singleton baby, was conducted in Jiangyou, Sichuan Province of China. Information on dietary supplement use was collected from participants by personal interview at hospital discharge and followed up by telephone at 1, 3, and 6 months postpartum. Logistic regression analysis and generalised linear-mixed modelling were performed to determine factors affecting dietary supplementation during pregnancy and the first 6 months postpartum, respectively. A total of 81.8 and 32.1% of women consumed dietary supplements during pregnancy and postpartum, respectively. Calcium was the most popular supplement (pregnancy 63.9%; postpartum 28.1%), whereas folic acid was only taken during pregnancy (62.3%) with an average usage duration of 2.5 (standard deviation 1.3) months among users. High school and above education, adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.63, 4.38], and attendance at prenatal classes (adjusted OR = 1.99, 95% CI [1.05, 3.76]) were associated with dietary supplementation during pregnancy. Mothers with a higher level of education (adjusted OR = 3.10, 95% CI [1.81, 5.30]) were also more likely to use dietary supplements in the postpartum period. Although dietary supplementation appeared to be common among Chinese mothers, maternal intake of folic acid was well below the guidelines. There is a need for further nutrition education on maternal use of micronutrient supplements, especially targeting mothers who are less educated.

Research Area(s)

  • China, dietary supplements, folic acid, nutrition, postpartum, pregnancy