Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Mediterranean diet before conception lowers adverse pregnancy outcomes

Researchers reported that a Mediterranean diet before conception lowers the probability of developing adverse pregnancy outcomes in a recent study published in JAMA Network Open (APOs).

Before conception, a Mediterranean diet reduces unfavourable pregnancy outcomes.

According to research, having a Mediterranean diet before getting pregnant reduces the risk of experiencing unfavourable pregnancy outcomes.

The current multicenter cohort study was conducted at eight medical facilities in the United States between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2013. It enrolled 10,038 nulliparous females with single live births in their first trimester and following them until delivery.

At the first study visit, sociodemographic, medical, and lifestyle information was collected. The team used the modified Block 2005 Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) at the initial study visit. It was done between six and 13 weeks plus two days of gestation to evaluate the diet at the time of conception.

This FFQ investigated dietary consumption over the previous three months by questioning the quantity and frequency of intake of approximately 120 beverages and food items. This was to estimate the consumption of 35 food groups and 52 nutrients. The pregnant women’s answers to the FFQ were validated.

The conformance to a Mediterranean diet (aMed) score was calculated using the periconceptional diet data provided by the Block FFQ. The nutritional density method adjusted all dietary factors for optimal energy intake. The aMed score included nine components. This included vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish, processed and red meats, the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat, and alcohol.

The primary study outcome was APO occurrence, which was defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following events:

  • eclampsia or preeclampsia,
  • prenatal hypertension,
  • gestational diabetes,
  • delivery before term,
  • delivery of a small-for-gestational-age newborn, or
  • stillbirth.

Certain APOs were evaluated in a secondary analysis. A team of maternal-fetal medical experts reviewed all of the findings.

Mediterranean diet & pregnancy:

Low, moderate, and high compliance to a Mediterranean diet around the time of conception predominated. The scores were at 38.2%, 31.2%, and 30.6%, respectively.

Females with a higher aMed score had a higher chance of being non-Hispanic White, older, married, non-smokers. They also had a higher level of education, and a lower chance of having an obese category body-mass index (BMI).

Participants with a high aMed score had lower APO prevalence. Also, had a significantly lower incidence of delivery of a newborn who is small for gestational age and preeclampsia. This was when compared to those with a low aMed score. Those with a high aMed score were 21% less likely to develop any APO. Furthermore, having a high aMed score was associated with a 28% lower risk of eclampsia or preeclampsia. Also, was associated with a 37% lower risk of gestational diabetes. The researchers also discovered no link between the aMed score and the risk of premature birth. Also, no link to prenatal hypertension, small-for-gestational-age delivery, or stillbirth.

When the components of the aMed score and the primary study outcome were compared, plant-based foods were found to be inversely related to APOs. In particular, fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption were linked to a lower risk of developing any APO.

Compliance with the fish guideline was associated with a lower incidence of APO. Whole grains, nuts, lipids, alcohol, and red meat had no significant association with the risk of developing APO.

Consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fish was linked to a lower risk of eclampsia and preeclampsia. In contrast, higher vegetable consumption and lower consumption of processed and red meat were linked to a lower risk of gestational diabetes.


Higher compliance to a Mediterranean diet at the time of conception was associated with a lower risk of experiencing any APO. This included eclampsia or preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. The researchers discovered a dose-response relationshi. They implied that women who strictly followed this diet before conception had the lowest risk of developing APOs.

Furthermore, higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fish, and lower consumption of processed and red meat, was associated with a lower risk of APOs.

The researchers believe that following a Mediterranean diet could be a significant lifestyle intervention for preventing APOs.

By Editor

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