Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Brietta Oaks


Objectives: To examine prenatal vitamin (PNV) use between women who participate in The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and pregnant women who do not participate in WIC. The secondary objective is to explore associations between PNV use and sociodemographic characteristics of pregnant women.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a convenience sample of Rhode Island pregnant women 18 years of age or older. Women were recruited from WIC offices, OB-GYN offices, and pregnant women known to the research team. All women that participated in the study completed an anonymous 21-question survey in-person or online that asked about PNV use, sociodemographic characteristics, and food security. We conducted t-tests and chi-square tests in this data analysis using SPSS. T-tests were used for continuous variables and chi-square was used for categorical variables.

Results: Out of 96 pregnant women, 61% were WIC participants. WIC participants were more likely to be Hispanic (47% vs 16%, p=0.002). Race significantly differed between WIC and non-WIC groups (p=0.02). Approximately 35% of WIC participants identified as a race other than white compared to 8% of non-WIC women. Education levels significantly differed between groups (p<0.001) with 7% of WIC women with a bachelor's degree or above compared to 59% of non-WIC women. WIC participants had a higher prevalence of food insecurity than non-WIC participants (56% vs 27%, p=0.01). There was no significant difference in PNV use between WIC and non-WIC participants (p=0.91), with 92% of women from both groups consuming PNVs during pregnancy. WIC participants were more likely to receive PNVs through a prescription than non-WIC participants (53% vs 24%, p=0.003).

Conclusion: This study indicates that there is high use of prenatal vitamins in both WIC and non-WIC Participants. In addition, we found that WIC participants are obtaining prescription prenatal vitamins more than women that are not participating in WIC. This is worth further attention as the composition of prescription and non-prescription prenatal vitamins differ.



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