The link between a healthy diet and complications during pregnancy
A healthy diet between conception and the second trimester of pregnancy, according to a study conducted by the NIH / Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development can have a positive effect by lowering the risk of common pregnancy issues and complications.
The study’s goal was to compare the risks of multiple common pregnancy issues and complications to longitudinal measures of a healthy diet from preconception to pregnancy.
How was this study conducted on the link between a healthy diet and complications during pregnancy?
The study was done with approximately 1900 women. The researchers asked them to fill out questionnaires about their diet between the ages of eight and thirteen weeks pregnant and to estimate what they had eaten in the preceding three months. After that, the researchers analyzed the food data collected several times.
At 16-22 weeks and 24-29 weeks, these women identified the type of food they consumed in the previous 24 hours. Three indicators of healthy diet measures were used to assess these women’s responses. These three measures emphasize the consumption of vegetables and legumes, fruits, whole grains, and nuts while limiting the consumption of red and processed meat. These measures are:
- Alternate Healthy Eating Index,
- Alternate Mediterranean Diet,
- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet
What results did researchers find from this study on the link between a healthy diet and complications during pregnancy?
According to the findings of this study, pregnant women who follow a healthy diet from conception until the second trimester have a lower risk of hypertension, gestational diabetes, preterm delivery, and preeclampsia.
For instance :
- Women with a high Alternate Healthy Eating Index score between 16 and 22 weeks of pregnancy had a 32% lower risk of gestational diabetes than those with a low score.
- Women with a high Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension score between 8 and 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 16 and 22 weeks of pregnancy had a 19 per cent lower risk of pregnancy-related high blood pressure disorders.
- Women with a high Alternate Mediterranean Diet score or a high Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension score between 24 and 29 weeks of pregnancy had a 50% lower risk of preterm delivery.
This study established that a healthy diet has a significant impact on the pregnancy of women to avoid complications. Future intervention studies that begin in early or pre-pregnancy are needed to investigate the effects of a healthy diet on preventing common pregnancy complications.
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