In a study assessing the Mediterranean diet and unwanted pregnancy outcomes, researchers observed that women adhering to the diet while pregnant had a significantly reduced risk of preeclampsia.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.48165
The study also looked at the Mediterranean diet in connection to other unwanted pregnancy outcomes, such as hypertension and gestational diabetes, preterm birth, stillbirth, and delivery of an infant classified as small-for-gestational-age.
This study confirms that healthier eating is linked to a reduced risk of unwanted pregnancy outcomes, with the most significant being a 28% reduced risk of preeclampsia.
This association between the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of unwanted pregnancy outcomes was observed in an ethnically, geographically, and racially diverse population. The association was stronger in women 35 years or older who’re customarily regarded as being of advanced maternal age.
Preeclampsia is a blood pressure disorder of a serious nature that develops while pregnant, putting stress on the heart of the mother. If not treated, the disorder can result in serious complications such as weakened liver and kidney function and reduced blood supply to the fetus.
As well as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes risk was also reduced in women who had more strictly adhered to the diet.
Women pregnant with their 1st child were asked to fill out a food frequency questionnaire at their 1st study visit during the 1st trimester.
The questionnaire concentrated on the eating habits of the women throughout the 3 months before their visit and asked them to report their consumption of common beverages and foods. Their answers were then categorized into the 9 Mediterranean diet components – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, red and processed meats, alcohol, and monounsaturated fat to saturated fat ratio to determine a Mediterranean diet score.
The analyzed data showed:
- A high Mediterranean diet score was associated with a 21% reduced chance of having any unwanted pregnancy outcome, in addition to a reduced risk of gestational diabetes and a 37% and 28% reduced risk of having eclampsia/preeclampsia.
The researchers also looked at the individual Mediterranean diet components and they observed that higher consumption of fish, legumes, and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of an unwanted pregnancy outcome.
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