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Vegetable-rich diet reduces risk of preterm birth

11 May 2020
To get the most vitaminas and minerals from the healthiest foods - vegetables - use healthy methods of cooking

Pregnant women who eat vegetables regularly have a lower risk of preterm birth, especially spontaneous preterm birth among nulliparous women, suggests a recent study.

In total, 3,422 and 3,508 singleton live births from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) for the analyses of preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW), respectively. Nulliparous and nonpregnant women at baseline surveys were included.

The authors used factor analyses and the Health Eating Index (HEI)-2015 score to draw maternal dietary patterns, as follows: meats and high fats; prudent diets; sugar, refined grains and processed foods; and traditional vegetables. They also assessed preterm birth and LBW using maternal reports from ALSWH data between 2003 and 2015. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed.

Women with greater adherence to traditional vegetable patterns before pregnancy appeared to have a reduced risk of preterm birth and spontaneous preterm birth after adjustments for lifestyle factors and pregnancy complications (highest vs lowest tertile: adjusted odds ratio, 0.72, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.53–0.99; risk ratio, 0.62, 95 percent CI, 0.39–1.00).

However, prepregnancy body mass index attenuated these associations. In addition, no significant associations existed between prepregnancy dietary patterns and LBW.

“This study suggests that better adherence to the traditional vegetables pattern before pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of preterm birth, particularly spontaneous preterm birth among nulliparous women,” the authors said, adding that further research is warranted to confirm these findings.

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Roshini Claire Anthony, 20 May 2020

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