Interrelationships between stress, dietary intake, and plasma ascorbic acid during pregnancy

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The relationships between stress, ascorbic acid status, and the adequacy of nutrient intake during the third trimester of pregnancy were studied. Adequacy of nutrient and ascorbic acid intake were measured by diet histories and 24 hour recalls. Plasma ascorbic acid and cortisol levels were determined. Stress was assessed by Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventories (STAI) and Symptom Checklists (SCL). Factors which may affect stress were assessed by a General Background Information Questionnaire.

All subjects had acceptable plasma ascorbic acid levels (0.48 - 1.64). A-State and A-Trait scores, X̄ = 1.55 and X̄ = 1.63 respectively, indicated the majority of subjects to be little stressed. There were positive significant correlations between age and cortisol, A-State and A-Trait measures of STAI, nutritional scores from diet histories and plasma cortisol. Significant negative correlations were obtained between month of pregnancy and plasma ascorbic acid levels, total ascorbic acid intake and A-State measurements of STAI, A-State measurements and income, A-State measurements and education, and A-State measurements and ascorbic intake as calculated from diet histories. There was no significant correlations between STAI, measurements and cortisol, plasma ascorbic acid and cortisol, and STAI measurements and plasma ascorbic acid. This study showed no conclusive evidence that ascorbic acid status or nutrient intake were affected by psychological stress.