Counting the cost of diet during pregnancy

Oct 30 2017

Zoe Szewczyk

University of Newcastle dietitians are seeking expectant mums in their final trimester to complete an online survey, as they investigate the relationship between dietary habits during pregnancy with subsequent health outcomes and healthcare costs.  

Pregnancy can be a confusing time when it comes to nutritional advice but, to date, very limited research has evaluated the impacts for pregnant women and their babies.

“What a woman is recommended to eat during pregnancy can influence her health and wellbeing and also that of her baby. Maternal nutrition is also related to healthcare factors, like the number of visits to a doctor, as well as costs for the mother and healthcare system,” researcher Zoe Szewczyk says.

“We are asking women in the latter stages of pregnancy about the foods they usually eat, and looking to see if there is a relationship between nutrition and healthcare costs for them and their baby.”  

Professor Clare Collins, who is leading the research team, adds: “Pregnancy is a very important time for women. Nutrition needs change and there are many recommendations about what to eat and what to avoid. It can be very confusing.

“We want to study the relationship between what women currently eat and healthcare costs so that we can develop a model of care that includes access to personalised nutrition advice in pregnancy, when women are looking for it. We hope that we can improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and their infants, as well as save the health system some money.”

The research team requires pregnant women from within the Hunter New England Health boundaries to complete a survey. Taking no more than 20-25 minutes on a smartphone or tablet, it can be readily completed in a health clinic waiting room or at home via a link.

More information is available at or interested participants can contact the research team on (02) 4921 5646.

Who can volunteer?

Pregnant women who are 28-36 weeks gestation (third trimester) from the Hunter New England Local Health District, and planning to deliver their baby at the John Hunter Hospital. They must be aged 18 years and above, proficient in English language and be able to complete an online survey.

* HMRI partners with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.