Unhealthy diet can lead to preterm birth

Unhealthy diet can lead to preterm birth

New research says that women who do not eat a healthy diet during pregnancy have a 50 percent chance of a preterm birth. The report offers another incentive for expectant moms to eat more nutritious meals.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute studied dietary patterns of 300 South Australian women. The results were published in The Journal of Nutrition(JN) and showed that women who consumed foods that were high in fat and sugar had a significantly higher risk of preterm births then those who had diets that were high in protein and fruits.

Dr. Jessica Grieger, Posdoctoral Research Fellow of the Robinson Research Institute, said in a statement, “Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant disease and death and occurs in approximately one in 10 pregnancies globally.”

Grieger also said that understanding the causes of preterm birth can improve survival of infants and overall the long-term health for children. She says that eating lean meats, fish, chicken, fruit, whole grains, and vegetables are all huge contributors to preventing early births.

Three types of dietary patterns were studied: high-protein, lean meats, and whole grains; high-fat, sugary, refined grains and potato chips; and finally a vegetarian-based diet.

“Women who consumed mainly discretionary foods, such as takeaway, potato chips, cakes, biscuits, and other foods high in saturated fat and sugar were more likely to have babies born preterm,” Grieger said.

Healthy diets before conception is just as important as during the actual pregnancy, according to the research. Grieger also says that it is never too late to start eating healthy.

Premature births occur before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC also states that important growth stages occur during the final weeks of pregnancy such as brain, lung, and liver development.

For more information, you can visit the CDC website here.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.