Is Pre-Pregnancy Diet Linked to Pregnancy Loss? Interview with:
Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard School of Public Health

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answers: In our  large prospective cohort study, we found that higher adherence to several healthy dietary patterns (e.g. the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010, Alternate Mediterranean Diet, and Fertility Diet) prior to pregnancy was not associated with risk of pregnancy loss.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answers: Yes and no. The relationship of overall diet to risk of pregnancy loss has been sparsely studied so we had little background research to inform our initial hypothesis. However, these dietary patterns were specifically chosen because higher adherence to them has been associated with decreased oxidative stress (aMED), improved endothelial function (aMED and aHEI), enhanced insulin sensitivity (aHEI), and decreased risk of infertility (FD), all of which could influence risk of pregnancy loss.

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

Answers: It is important to note that despite our null findings on specific dietary patterns, other dietary patterns or specific foods and nutrients might still be related to pregnancy loss. Our findings should not discourage women from eating a healthy diet prior to pregnancy as a healthier diet has been related to increased probability of conceiving as well as decreased risk of adverse pregnancy and infant outcomes.

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

Answers: Future prospective cohort studies that enroll couples pre-conceptionally and measure diet immediately prior to conception are needed to further elucidate the relationship between dietary patterns and risk of pregnancy loss.


Prepregnancy dietary patterns and risk of pregnancy loss
Audrey J Gaskins, Janet W Rich-Edwards, Russ Hauser, Paige L Williams, Matthew W Gillman, Alan Penzias, Stacey A Missmer, and Jorge E Chavarro

Am J Clin Nutr 2014 ajcn.083634; First published online August 13, 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.083634