- A Mediterranean-like diet may decrease pregnancy associated complications, with a study showing a 21% overall decrease in complications such as preterm birth, delivery of a small baby, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and even stillbirth.
- The Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fish, has positive effects on blood pressure, glucose levels, insulin resistance, and sugar levels.
- Healthy lifestyle and diet before pregnancy are significantly correlated with fewer adverse outcomes during pregnancy, as the body is better equipped to handle pregnancy stresses.
- Women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had notably reduced risks of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, with the diet’s benefits most evident in women 35 and older.
- A plant-based diet like the Mediterranean diet, coupled with a balanced, healthier lifestyle even before conception not only benefits mother and infant health, but can also impact sperm health and motility in prospective fathers.
An enhanced diet can deliver substantial health dividends, now research has found it may decrease pregnancy-associated complications.
Meticulously, a detailed survey of women who followed a dedicated diet found significant results, a 21% overall decreased risk in a variety of pregnancy complications including preterm birth, delivery of a small baby, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and even stillbirth.
Diet & Pregnancy Outcomes
Adverse pregnancy outcomes have seen an increasing trend, with severe impacts on both mother and child. Implementing a diet similar to the Mediterranean-style could emerge as a significant preventive lifestyle approach to shield from these adverse outcomes.
The Mediterranean diet, known for its high content of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fish, emphasizes a decrease in red and processed meats and alcohol. It’s linked to improved blood pressure & glucose levels, insulin resistance, and reduced sugar levels.
The reduction in the risk of complications from solely following a healthy diet cannot be guaranteed. However, the correlation between a healthier background before pregnancy and less adverse outcomes is significant. Pregnancy itself is a stress test for the body. Lower baseline levels of inflammation owing to a healthy lifestyle can ensure better coping mechanisms against pregnancy stresses.
Diet & Pregnancy: The Study
Comprehensive data was evaluated from approximately 7,800 women who were part of a significant study, all bearing their first child, who filled out a questionnaire regarding their diet during the first trimester.
Specifically, adherents of the Mediterranean diet were found to have a reduced risk of preeclampsia, eclampsia by 28%, and a decrease in gestational diabetes by 37%.
Preeclampsia is dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy, which puts stress on the mother’s heart. If untreated, it can cause complications, such as weakened kidney and liver function, and decreased blood supply to the fetus.
Interestingly, the benefits from a Mediterranean diet and the lower risk of pregnancy complications were found to be most prominent among women aged 35 and older.
Healthier Lifestyle,Diet and Pregnancy Outcomes
Adherence to a plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet has shown significant improvement in pregnancy outcomes. This dietary pattern promotes health owing to its high content of diverse compounds found in plants like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Implementation of a healthier lifestyle preconception, such as a balanced diet and regular exercise, can prove beneficial not only for the mother and baby but also for the father by affecting sperm health and motility.
For more on the Mediterranean diet, visit the American Heart Association.