The nutritional status and lifestyle of women in preconception, pregnancy and lactation determine maternal, fetal and child health. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate dietary patterns and lifestyles according the perinatal physiological status in a large sample of Spanish women. Community pharmacists that were previously trained to collect the data recruited 13,845 women. General information, anthropometric measurements, physical activity, unhealthy habits and dietary data were assessed using a validated questionnaire. Mean values and percentages were used as descriptive statistics. The t
-test, ANOVA or chi-squared test were used to compare groups. A score that included dietary and behavioral characteristics was generated to compare lifestyles in the three physiological situations. The analysis revealed that diet quality should be improved in the three stages, but in a different manner. While women seeking a pregnancy only met dairy recommendations, those who were pregnant only fulfilled fresh fruits servings and lactating women only covered protein group requirements. In all cases, the consumption allowances of sausages, buns and pastries were exceeded. Food patterns and unhealthy behaviors of Spanish women in preconception, pregnancy and lactation should be improved, particularly in preconception. This information might be useful in order to implement educational programs for each population group.
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