Pregnant Taiwanese are consuming nowhere near the amounts of vitamins and minerals that doctors recommend, a survey of women showed yesterday.
The survey, in which 2,346 pregnant women answered questionnaires and had their blood tested periodically, was conducted by National Taiwan University Hospital for the Department of Health (DOH).
The blood tests found that pregnant women in Taiwan lacked iron, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B in their diets, even in the initial stages of their pregnancies, and the situation got worse as the pregnancy progressed.
By the third trimester, many of the pregnant women had a 4 percent deficiency in folic acid, a 37 percent deficiency in vitamin B and a 14 percent deficiency in vitamin B2. They also had major iron deficiencies, with some of the women in the trial having iron levels 50 percent lower than accepted standards.
The survey identified other flaws in the participants’ diets. It found that pregnant Taiwanese ingest only 52 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin E and only half that of calcium.
The average amount of dietary fiber consumed by pregnant women also fell short of the recommended amount by between 17 percent and 32 percent.
Because 60 percent of pregnant Taiwanese also work and eat outside, Shaw Ning-sing (蕭寧馨), the National Taiwan University professor who was in charge of the survey, recommended they take fish oil and other mineral supplements to complement their diets.
In addition, 50 percent of the nation’s pregnant women are exposed to second-hand smoke at home, the survey said.
Most pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke face it at home, particularly at night, but others also must contend with it in the workplace, the survey said.