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Eating down or simply eating less? The diet and health implications of these practices during pregnancy and postpartum in rural Bangladesh

  • Kassandra L Harding (a1) (a2), Susana L Matias (a1), Malay K Mridha (a1) (a3), Stephen A Vosti (a1), Sohrab Hussain (a3) (a4), Kathryn G Dewey (a1) and Christine P Stewart (a1)...
Abstract Objective

To: (i) determine the prevalence of self-reported eating less and eating down during early and late pregnancy and postpartum, and explore risk factors associated with eating less; (ii) examine the association between eating less and diet quality; and (iii) determine the association between eating less and weight gain during pregnancy.


Data were collected longitudinally from a cohort of women participating in a community health programme. Diet was assessed at three time points (≤20 weeks’ gestation, 36 weeks’ gestation, 6 months’ postpartum), body weight was measured during study enrolment (≤20 weeks’ gestation) and at 36 weeks’ gestation, and information about the woman and her household was collected at enrolment.


The Rang-Din Nutrition Study in the Rangpur and Dinajpur districts of Bangladesh.


Women (n 4011).


The prevalence of self-reported eating less differed by time point (75·9 % in early pregnancy, 38·8 % in late pregnancy, 7·4 % postpartum; P<0·001). The most common reason for eating less across all time periods was food aversion or loss of appetite. Women who reported eating less in late pregnancy had consumed animal-source foods less frequently in the preceding week than women who reported eating more (mean (sd): 11·7 (7·4) v. 14·8 (9·2) times/week; P<0·001) and had lower weekly weight gain than women who reported eating more (mean (se): 0·27 (0·004) v. 0·33 (0·004) kg/week; P<0·001).


Eating less has negative implications with respect to diet quality and pregnancy weight gain in this context.

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