Diet Secrets for a Healthy Pregnancy
Certain key lifestyle factors play an important role in promoting a healthy pregnancy. That sounds like common sense, but new research confirms the common wisdom. In a large study conducted in the United Kingdom, researchers identified some specific factors that were associated with better pregnancy outcomes. They included increased fruit consumption before the start of pregnancy, maintaining a healthy body weight, keeping blood pressure within normal limits, and having a paying job. More obvious factors, such as no longer abusing drugs or alcohol, were also linked to more trouble-free pregnancies.
Plenty of studies have examined the relationships among poor lifestyle choices and bad pregnancy outcomes, but this study took the opposite tack. Investigators tried to identify positive lifestyle factors that were linked with good pregnancy outcomes. Good outcomes were defined as “uncomplicated” pregnancies that resulted in deliveries of healthy, live babies at or after 37 weeks. Mothers’ blood pressure remained normal, and their babies were not small for their gestational age.
Gestational hypertension—a form of high blood pressure that only arises during pregnancy—was one of the most common reasons a pregnancy was classified as complicated. The occurrence of pre-eclampsia was also a common finding among women with complicated pregnancies.
Perhaps the most striking finding from this study was the fact that increased intake of fruit in the month before conception was linked to better subsequent pregnancy outcome. I love when science backs up what I’ve been saying all along: fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you in so many ways!
L. C. Chappell, P. T. Seed, J. Myers, R. S. Taylor, L. C. Kenny, G. A. Dekker, J. J. Walker, L. M. E. McCowan, R. A. North, L. Poston. Exploration and confirmation of factors associated with uncomplicated pregnancy in nulliparous women: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 2013; 347 (nov21 3): f6398 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f6398