Socioeconomic, Lifestyle and Dietary Factors Associated with Dietary Supplement Use during Pregnancy

Plos one 2013 8(8):e70733

Pouchieu C, Lévy R, Faure C, Andreeva VA, Galan P, Hercberg S, Touvier M

Information on dietary supplement (DS) use during pregnancy is largely lacking. Besides, little is known about the share of DS use as self-medication versus such use following a physician's advice/prescription. Our aim was to evaluate DS use and its socioeconomic, lifestyle and dietary correlates among pregnant women participating in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study.
Data were collected by self-administered web-based questionnaires. Food intake was assessed by repeated 24 h dietary records. 903 pregnant women provided data on their DS use (both “regular” DS and medication containing mainly vitamins/minerals). Supplement users were compared to non-users by unconditional logistic regression.
DS use—in general and as regards folic acid in particular—was positively correlated with age, being primiparous, having higher income and belonging to a higher socioprofessional category. DS users had significantly higher dietary intakes of most vitamins and minerals. The proportion of DS users (e.g., those reporting use at least three days a week) increased significantly with the trimester of pregnancy (58.0%, 62.2% and 74.5%, respectively). 50.2% of women in their 1st trimester used folic acid. The proportion of iron users tripled from the 1st to the 3rd trimester (18.5 to 63.9%). DS use was prescribed or recommended by a physician in 86.7% of the cases.
This study provided new and detailed information on DS use and its correlates during pregnancy. Even in this relatively well-educated population, folic acid supplementation at the beginning of pregnancy was inadequate and was associated with socioeconomic and demographic disparities.