Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 2179–2188 | Cite as

What do Pregnant Women Know About the Healthy Eating Guidelines for Pregnancy? A Web-Based Questionnaire

  • Amelia LeeEmail author
  • Regina Belski
  • Jessica Radcliffe
  • Michelle Newton


Objectives This study explored nutrition knowledge of pregnant women, and how it correlated with participant characteristics, their main sources of information and changes to their diet since becoming pregnant. Methods Pregnant women residing in Australia accessing pregnancy forums on the internet were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire on general nutrition and pregnancy-specific nutrition guidelines. Results Of the 165 eligible questionnaire responses, 114 were complete and included in the analysis. Pregnancy nutrition knowledge was associated with education (r s = 0.21, p < 0.05) and income (r s = 0.21, p < 0.05). Only 2 % of pregnant women achieved nutrition knowledge scores over 80 %. Few women received nutrition advice during their pregnancy, of which most were advised by their doctor. Dietary changes adopted since becoming pregnant included consuming more fruit, vegetables, dairy and high fibre foods. Conclusions for Practice Pregnant women in this study had limited knowledge of the dietary guidelines for healthy eating during pregnancy. Furthermore, nutrition counselling in maternity care appears to be infrequent. One approach to optimising maternal diets and subsequently preventing adverse health outcomes is to enhance their knowledge of the pregnancy nutrition guidelines through the provision of nutritional counselling. Furthermore, research exploring the access and use of nutrition resources, and nutrition advice provided to pregnant women is recommended to understand how knowledge impacts on dietary behaviour.


Pregnancy Nutrition knowledge Dietary guidelines Antenatal Online questionnaire 



AL and RB have contributed to the conceptualisation and design of the study. AL conducted data collection and analysis. JR and MN edited the manuscript. All authors approved the manuscript. The incentives were funded by a La Trobe University higher degree research grant.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amelia Lee
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Regina Belski
    • 1
  • Jessica Radcliffe
    • 1
  • Michelle Newton
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Allied HealthLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  2. 2.Nutrition DepartmentRoyal Women’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.School of Nursing and MidwiferyLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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