In a new study evaluating the Mediterranean diet and adverse pregnancy outcomes, investigators from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai found that women who conceived while adhering to the anti-inflammatory diet had a significantly lower risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy.
The study, published today in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Network Open, also evaluated the association between the Mediterranean diet and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including gestational diabetes and hypertension, preterm birth, delivery of a small-for-gestational-age infant, and stillbirth.
“This multicenter, population-based study validates that a healthier eating pattern is associated with a lower risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, the most exciting being a 28% lower risk for preeclampsia,” said Natalie Bello, MD, MPH, senior and corresponding author of the study and director of Hypertension Research in the Smidt Heart Institute. “Importantly, this connection between the Mediterranean diet and lower risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes was seen in a geographically, racially and ethnically diverse population.”
Bello also notes that researchers found the association was stronger in women who are traditionally considered to be of advanced maternal age, those 35 or older.
Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that develops during pregnancy and puts stress on the mother’s heart. Left untreated, the condition can cause serious complications like weakened kidney and liver function and decreased blood supply to the fetus.
In addition to preeclampsia, the risk of gestational diabetes also decreased in women who more closely followed the heart-healthy diet.
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