British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Proposal of a Mediterranean diet index for pregnant women

Miguel Mariscal-Arcasa1, Ana Rivasa1, Celia Monteagudoa1, Alicia Granadaa1, Isabel Cerrilloa2 and Fatima Olea-Serranoa1 c1

a1 Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Granada, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain

a2 Department of Molecular Biology, Area Nutrition and Food Science, University of Sevilla, 41013 Sevilla, Spain


Numerous studies have addressed the nutritional needs of pregnant women. The nutritional status of the woman before and during gestation affects the growth of the fetus and the course of the pregnancy and influences the risk of obesity for mother and infant. The aim of this study was to propose a diet quality index for pregnancy based on a Mediterranean-type diet (MDS-P), evaluating the diet of a group of pregnant women by applying the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) and evaluating their intake of micronutrients required in optimal amounts during pregnancy, such as Fe, folic acid and Ca. The data used to construct this index (MDS-P) were gathered by means of a FFQ specifically designed for pregnant women. The mean MDS of this group, was 4·31 (sd 1·32), considered to represent satisfactory compliance with the Mediterranean diet (range 0–8). The mean MDS-P (range 0–11), which also takes account of dietary intake or supplements of folic acid, Fe and Ca was 7·53 (sd 1·44), indicating a compliance of around 70 %. The present study findings suggest that the MDS-P, which evaluates the adequacy of folic acid, Fe and Ca as well as compliance with the Mediterranean diet, may represent a valid tool for the specific assessment of the diet of pregnant women living in countries in the Mediterranean area. Further studies are required to complete the validation process.

(Received October 13 2008)

(Revised December 19 2008)

(Accepted January 15 2009)

(Online publication February 26 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Fatima Olea-Serrano, fax +34 958 249577, email


Abbreviations: MDS, Mediterranean Diet Score; MDS-P, Mediterranean Diet Score–Pregnancy; RDI, recommended daily intake