Maternal meal irregularities during pregnancy and lifestyle correlates

Rachael Si Xuan Loo, Fabian Yap, Chee Wai Ku, Yin Bun Cheung, Kok Hian Tan, Jerry Kok Yen Chan, See Ling Loy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Meal regularity can influence metabolic health. However, habits of skipping and delaying meals are rarely studied among pregnant women. This study examined the incidence of maternal meal skipping and meal delaying, and their associated lifestyle patterns during pregnancy. Pregnant women in the second trimester (18–24 weeks' gestation; n = 90) were recruited from the antenatal clinics in KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore, 2019–2020. Data on sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary habits were collected. Firstly, principal component analysis was used to identify lifestyle patterns. Subsequently, multiple logistic regression model was used to examine the association of lifestyle patterns with meal skipping and delaying. In total, 32 (35.6%) women had irregular meals, in which 25 (27.8%) and 26 (28.9%) women reported meal skipping and meal delaying for at least 3 times a week, respectively. Women with ‘poor sleep and emotion’ pattern as characterized by higher scores for poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were associated with higher odds of meal skipping (OR 1.99; 95% CI 1.13, 3.53) and meal delaying (2.50; 1.31, 4.79). ‘Sedentary’ pattern, as characterized by greater daily time spent on television and screen electronic devices, and ‘weight and inactivity’ pattern, as characterized by higher BMI and physical inactivity level, were not associated with meal regularity. In this study, almost one-third of women reporting meal irregularities during pregnancy. ‘Poor sleep and emotion’ pattern is associated with a higher incidence of meal skipping and delaying. These findings suggest the need to address sleep and emotional health in interventions promoting healthy nutrition specifically regular eating in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105747
Early online date9 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Lifestyle pattern
  • Meal delaying
  • Meal regularity
  • Meal skipping
  • Pregnancy

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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