Nutrition during pregnancy study

Study Information

Researcher's Introduction

This research is a Master’s student project that will be conducted by the student Michele Eickstaedt, and her supervisors Dr. Kathryn Beck and Dr. Cath Conlon. The Research team is based within the College of Health at Massey University Albany Campus.

Project Description and Invitation

Good nutrition during pregnancy is important for both the mother and the baby. Certain key nutrients, such as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are important for the growth and development of the baby as well as to support a healthy pregnancy for the mother. Omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs are fatty acids found in the membranes of every cell of the human body. They are found in a range of foods including meat, poultry, fish, vegetable oils and some vegetables. Several studies report that modern diets in countries such as NZ do not supply adequate amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs. There is also limited information about the diets of pregnant women in NZ and it is unknown if dietary recommendations for these key nutrients are being met. For these reasons, we are inviting you to take part in this study that will investigate food sources and dietary intakes of omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA of pregnant women in NZ, and compare their current intakes to recommended values.

By taking part in this study you will help us to identify what the food sources of the PUFA’s are and whether pregnant women are getting enough of these key nutrients. The results from this study will support me in completing my thesis, which is part of obtaining a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition at Massey University.

Participants Identification and Recruitment

We are looking for pregnant women in the last trimester of pregnancy, aged 16 years and over, living in NZ and willing to complete an online questionnaire.  This is a nationwide study in which participants are invited to take part until 10th February 2015. If you know anyone else who would be interested in taking part in our study please pass on the study link on: The research team has consulted with Māori and Pacific representatives whilst planning this study. If you have any concerns please contact a member of our research team (please refer to research team contact details section) who will be happy to discuss your concerns.

Project Procedures

You will be requested to complete an online questionnaire that contains general questions about you, your medical and pregnancy history as well as your dietary intake over the past 6 months.  All the information supply will be collected anonymously and none of the study documentation will be able to identify participants. The questionnaire will take around 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Participation in this research is entirely voluntary and you do not have to answer any questions that you are uncomfortable with. You are welcome to have a support person, such as a friend or family member, who can assist you in completing the questionnaire. You can withdraw from this study at any time up until the 10/02/2015 The questionnaire can be completed online via a secure survey platform link or in hard copy. If you choose the hard copy, your contact details will be required for postage. You will be posted the questionnaire and a return addressed pre-paid envelope. Your contact details will not be recorded or linked to study documentation. Upon completion of the questionnaire you will receive the link for Eating for Healthy Pregnant Women from the Ministry of Health (a hard copy is available if requested). You will also have the chance to WIN one of five parenting books "If Only They'd Told Me: Babies, Sex and a Cup of Tea”. If you have any concerns about your health and diet during pregnancy please consult your Midwife, Medical Practitioner or Dietitian.

Data Management

The questionnaire is anonymous and all information gathered will be automatically assigned to a specific study ID number which will allow the researcher to analyse and describe the data while maintaining complete anonymity of participants. Data will be stored securely for five years. Access to the data will be available to the research team only.

Accessing a Summary of the Project Findings

As the data for the study is collected anonymously, we are unable to send out a summary of the findings of the study to participants. However a summary of the findings will be made available on our website around April 2015. Bookmark this page ( and visit it for updates on the study. Alternatively you can inform your email address at the beginning of the questionnaire.

Information resulting from this study will also be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and presented at appropriate research seminars and conferences. If appropriate, the outcomes will also be publicised in the general media.

Participant’s Rights

You are under no obligation to take part in this study. If you decide to participate, you have the right to:

  • decline to answer any particular question;
  • withdraw from the study at any time up until the 10/02/2015;
  • ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
  • provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used;
  • be given access to the summary of the project findings when it is concluded.

Taking Part in the Study

If you are interested in taking part in the study please access the link or contact the research team. Please feel free to tell as many friends, family and colleagues about this study so we can reach a large number of participants.

Project Contacts

MSc Student Michele Eickstaedt
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
Massey University, Albany
Tel: (09) 414 0800 ext 43815
Mobile:021 123 7191

Study Supervisor
Dr Cath Conlon
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
Massey University, Albany
Tel: (09) 414 0800 ext 43658

Study Co-Supervisor
Dr Kathryn Beck
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
Massey University, Albany
Tel: (09) 414 0800 ext 43662

Thank you for considering participating in this study!

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, Application 14/027.  If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact Dr Andrew Chrystall, Acting Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, telephone 09 414 0800 x 43317, email

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