Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


A nutrient-rich diet during pregnancy is critical to optimize gestation and birth outcomes. To test the effectiveness of a curriculum encouraging a nutrient-rich diet, the Pregnancy, Exercise, and Nutrition study was a randomized, controlled feasibility study of 28 women. The intervention group (n=14) participated in a team-based, peer-led, 20-session curriculum that promoted healthy dietary choices and activity during pregnancy to reduce gestational diabetes risk.

The aim of this research project was to examine differences in gestational weight gain and nutrient intake between control and intervention groups as well as differences between participants who met the 2009 IOM gestational weight gain recommendations and those who exceeded the recommendations. The secondary aim was to determine differences in fruit and vegetable intake between groups and determine the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and gestational weight gain. As an exploratory measure, the Healthy Eating Index and the Diet Quality Index for Pregnancy were used to assess diet quality and differences in scores between groups were determined. The Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Recall, a web-based tool was used to efficiently and inexpensively collect dietary intake data during trimesters 1, 2, and 3.

We found no relationship between maternal fruit and vegetable intake and gestational weight gain. However, women who exceeded the 2009 IOM weight gain recommendations had significantly higher mean pre-pregnancy weights and BMI than those who met the recommendations (p<0.03). The intervention group had significantly lower energy (p=0.02) and fat intakes (p=0.02) at Trimester 3 than at Trimester 1 compared to the control. We found no significant differences in gestational weight gain, fruit and vegetable intake, or diet quality scores between control and intervention groups. These findings help to evaluate the effectiveness of the PEN curriculum on pregnancy and diet-related outcomes as well as identify areas of the curriculum to strengthen.




Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition


School of Medicine



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