Pregnancy Diet Concept

Pregnancy complications less likely when women follow healthy diets: Research

*Researchers say healthy eating habit during conception and pregnancy can improve mothers’ and infants’ health and wellbeing

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from the National Institute of Health in a fresh study emphasised the importance of women’s following healthy diets even before they officially become pregnant.

The study findings revealed that women are at the lowest risk of pregnancy complications, including preterm birth and preeclampsia, when they stick to a healthy diet before conception through the second trimester.

The researchers wrote: “In this multi-racial cohort of pregnant women, greater adherence to any of the three healthy dietary patterns ─ alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED), and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) ─ during preconception through the second trimester was associated with lower risks of gestational diabetes (GDM), gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and preterm delivery.”

In exploring the essence of maintaining a healthy diet, and understanding the benefits associated with healthy eating prior to getting pregnant, the researchers analysed responses from nearly 2,000 women enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Fetal Growth Study.

They noted that at various points in the women’s pregnancies, the womenfolk reported on what they were eating.

The findings stated they also responded to questionnaires to give the researchers an idea of their diets before getting pregnant.

The team compared their responses to three popular healthy diets — the AHEI, AMED, and DASH diets, all of which prioritise fresh and healthy foods.

Agency report noted the study indicated that women had healthier pregnancies and a lower risk of complications when they more closely followed any of the three health diets for an extended period of time.

The researchers learned that women who most closely followed the DASH or AMED diets through the second trimester were 50 percent less likely to deliver prematurely.

It is stated the participants were also more than 30 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes when they followed the AHEI diet in the early parts of pregnancy.

The risk of preeclampsia was also lower when women followed any of the three healthy diets from pre-conception through the halfway point of pregnancy.

Following any of these diets can impart important health benefits to all consumers, including healthier blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and metabolism function, researchers said.

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