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Public Health Nutr. 2017 Aug;20(11):1928-1940. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017000672. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

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

Author information

1Program in International and Community Nutrition,Department of Nutrition,University of California,Davis,1 Shields Avenue,Davis,CA 95616,USA.
3International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research,Bangladesh,Dhaka,Bangladesh.



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.


Bangladesh; Diet; Eating down; Postpartum; Pregnancy

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