Mediterranean Diet During Pregnancy Reduces Risk Of Small-for-Gestational-Age In Babies | Latest news for doctors, nurses and pharmacists

According to a recent study, mothers who follow a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy are less likely to deliver small-for-gestational-age (SGA) babies.

“[H]High adherence to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy appears to be supportive of reducing the risk of SGA,” the researchers said, “suggesting that this diet has a positive effect on fetal growth.

“These results should be taken into account when implementing nutritional intervention programs, which should focus on healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet for pregnant women to prevent nutritional deficiencies that could negatively impact the baby’s health,” they added.

The prospective analysis included 614 mother-child dyads. A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess maternal diets during pregnancy, which were assigned a relative Mediterranean diet score (rMedDiet), calculated based on the intake of nine food groups, including vegetables , fruit, fresh fish and dairy products. Outcomes were neonatal characteristics including weight, height, SGA, and head circumference.

The mothers showed an average rMedDiet score of 9.8. Only 22% strongly adhered to a Mediterranean diet (score ≥ 12 points). These women were generally older, had a better level of education and belonged to a higher social class. [Sci Rep 2022;12:13794]

The infants were born with an average birth weight of 3294.6 g and an average height of 49.3 cm. The mean head circumference was 34.5 cm. The prevalence rates of GAS assessed according to the respective parameters were 10.7%, 13.3% and 16.8%. SGA was more common in boys than in girls.

A multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that better adherence to the Mediterranean diet protected SGA, regardless of the anthropometric measure used.

For example, mothers in the highest compliance tertile (rMedDiet score of 12 to 18 points) were nearly 65% ​​less likely to give birth to SGA infants for weight than low-compliance comparators (rMedDiet score of 0 at 9; adjusted odds ratio [OR]0.36, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16–0.79; porient oneself=0.005).

Similarly, high grip reduced the likelihood of SGA for length and head circumference by more than 40% (adjusted OR, 0.57, 95% CI, 0.28-1.17; porient oneselforient oneself=0.015), respectively.

Taking the rMedDiet score as a continuous variable gave generally similar results, with each 1-point increase leading to significant reductions in the likelihood of SGA for weight (adjusted OR, 0.74, 95% CI, 0.64-0 .85) and head circumference (adjusted OR, 0.82, 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.94). Such an effect for SGA for length was only borderline significant.

Other notable predictors of SGA for weight were insufficient gestational weight gain (adjusted OR, 2.16, 95% CI, 1.14 to 4.09) and smoking (adjusted OR, 2.62, 95% CI, 1.44 to 4.78), both of which increased this risk by more than twofold. Smoking was also correlated with SGA for head circumference, increasing its likelihood more than threefold (adjusted OR, 3.64, 95% CI, 1.83–7.23).

Meanwhile, other than adherence to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy, none of the other potential predictors were found to be significantly associated with SGA for infant height.

“Our study adds to current knowledge regarding the influence of maternal diet on fetal growth and highlights the importance of promoting a healthy Mediterranean diet in early pregnancy as an effective strategy to prevent SGA births” , the researchers said.

Valerie J. Wallis