Preconception Maternal Diet Linked to Birth Outcomes

Jessica A. Grieger (BSc(hons), R Nutr, PhD) Post-doctoral research fellow Robinson Research Institute, University of AdelaideMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jessica A. Grieger (BSc(hons), R Nutr, PhD)
Post-doctoral research fellow
Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide

 

MedicalResearch:  What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Grieger: The study aimed to identify associations between maternal dietary patterns in the 12 months before conception on fetal growth and preterm delivery. We report that a one standard deviation increase in the scores on the high-protein/fruit pattern was associated with decreased likelihood for preterm birth, whereas a one standard deviation increase on the high-fat/sugar/takeaway pattern was associated with increased likelihood for preterm birth as well as shorter gestation and birth length.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Grieger: Our results suggest that preconception diet is an important factor relevant to perinatal outcomes. In particular, a diet mainly consisting of discretionary items such as take-away foods, potato chips, refined grains and added sugar is associated with preterm birth, whereas a pattern consisting of fish, meat, chicken, fruit and some whole grains was protective. Preterm birth is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Our work highlights the importance of promoting a healthy diet before pregnancy to optimise outcomes for both the mother and baby.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Grieger: Larger dietary pattern studies are required to support our results. Our sample was a group of women living in a region of low socioeconomic status, therefore subsequent analyses could be assessed in women of higher socioeconomic status to understand whether similar associations exist. Behaviour-change strategies might be a necessary component to assist women in adopting a healthier dietary pattern both before and during pregnancy.
Citation:

Preconception Dietary Patterns in Human Pregnancies Are Associated with Preterm Delivery.
Jessica A. Grieger, Luke E. Grzeskowiak, and Vicki L. Clifton
J. Nutr. 2014 jn.114.190686; first published online April 30, 2014. doi:10.3945/jn.114.190686