By: Talking Nutrition Editors
Download our Maternal Health, Attitude and Behavior report to explore proprietary market insights and expert tips for the development of consumer-led maternal nutrition solutions.
Delivering the right nutrition to women across the maternal journey – from preconception to breastfeeding – is imperative to support the health of new and expectant mothers and their babies. During this critical period, women experience heightened nutritional demands which can be hard to meet from diet alone; increasing the need for nutritional support – often in the form of supplements.i But what do women really think about maternal nutrition products and what can brands do to better attract and support this consumer group?
To inspire the development of nutritional solutions that truly champion maternal health, DSM has delved into the latest trends, challenges and preferences affecting women during this transformative time. Our interview-based study consulted 4,500 women – 1,500 at each stage in the motherhood journey (preconception, expecting and breastfeeding mothers) – across 14 countries in five regions globally (APAC, EMEA, US, LATAM and China). Read on to explore some of the key findings from our survey.
To create consumer-led nutrition solutions that champion women from preconception through to nursing, understanding the health priorities that are top of mind for new and expectant mothers – beyond supporting a healthy pregnancy – is essential. Our findings highlight that stress and anxiety were among the top health concerns expressed by women across all stages of the motherhood journey – as well as low energy levels and tiredness.
What’s more, results from the study indicated that one in four women were currently facing some form of depression in their maternal journey. The high incidence of depression among new and expectant mothers may be attributed to the significant changes that occur during this time in their life, such as growing their baby, hormonal changes, reduced sleep, breastfeeding and adjusting to a new life. Our findings have revealed key opportunities for maternal nutrition brands to support the mental wellbeing of women of childbearing age.
Folic acid (vitamin B9) supplementation is strongly recommended for all women of childbearing age, as it can help to prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects (like spina bifida). But despite the high demand for folic acid during the first weeks of pregnancy, only three in five women globally were aware of the nutrient.
Interestingly, while our findings indicated that folic acid was perceived as the most important nutrient for women during preconception and pregnancy, this was not true for new mothers, 63% of whom regarded calcium as the most vital nutrient. 62% of women in this group also claimed that the immunity-supporting nutrient – vitamin C – was part of their breastfeeding supplements. Our findings demonstrate opportunities for brands to improve ingredients awareness and education across the motherhood journey.
Results from the report revealed that one in two pregnant women supplemented their health with a pregnancy-specific multivitamin. Pregnant women were also the most likely group to adopt a supplement as part of their maternal journey. For busy mothers, pills, tablets and capsules were the most widely consumed supplement formats, likely due to their convenience. However, preference was high for gummies, jellies and lozenges across all regions too.
Throughout the motherhood journey, medical professionals were by far the top source of maternal nutrition information and product recommendations – with three in four preconception women using medical professionals as their top source of information. Women also reported getting information from online sources and social media platforms. Family members, brand trust, high-quality ingredients and science-backed products were also important influencers of women’s maternal nutrition decisions. This highlights the opportunity for brands to optimize their maternal nutrition solutions by including proven, effective nutrients to appeal to new and expectant mothers.
The above is just a taste of how our insightful consumer research can help your brand innovate the maternal nutrition space. But if you’re interested in turning these findings into solutions that truly resonate with consumers, take a deep dive into our full research report, and explore how trends and attitudes change across each stage of the maternal journey.
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25 May 2023
5 min read