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Bad Nutrition in Pregnancy Raises Risks for Premature Delivery — Physician’s First Watch
Bad Nutrition in Pregnancy Raises Risks for Premature Delivery
By Joe Elia
Two studies in BMJ reinforce the desirability of maintaining healthy diets during pregnancy.
One study used food-frequency questionnaires from 66,000 pregnant women in Norway to characterize their dietary patterns into one of three categories: prudent (e.g., vegetables, fruits, water as a beverage); Western (salty and sweet snacks, white bread, processed meat); or traditional (potatoes, fish).
Those scoring in the highest tertiles for the prudent and traditional patterns had significantly lower hazard ratios for preterm delivery relative to those in the lowest tertiles.
Another study, from Australia, encouraged overweight and obese pregnant women to eat right and exercise. The result? No difference between intervention and control groups in gestational diabetes or other maternal complications. However, the relative risk for a prespecified secondary outcome — macrosomia (birth weight above 4 kg) — was reduced by 18% with the intervention.
An editorial concludes that the results reinforce the need to advise pregnant women to eat a healthy diet.