Preconception traditional vegetable diet lowers the risk of premature babies

A study from the University of Queensland in Australia has demonstrated that eating vegetables regularly before pregnancy lowers the risk of having a premature birth.

Nearly 3500 women took part in the study which found that those who consumed a lot of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and other vegetables before getting pregnant were more likely to carry their babies to term.

The principal researcher explained that vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants and that these play an important part in ensuring that the placenta and foetus develop healthily. Starting to eat vegetables after the start of pregnancy is probably too late to have a positive impact as critical foetal development takes place in the first three months following conception.

This study suggests that advising women on how to improve their diet prior to conception would help reduce premature births.

Gete, D.G., Waller, M., Mishra, G.D. (2020) Pre-pregnancy dietary patterns and risk of preterm birth and low birth weight: fFndings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa057

[Editor’s Note: This three study is particularly important for educators and health care professionals working with families across the transition to parenthood. They strengthen the evidence-base for what has long been known – that a healthy diet is important pre-conception; that screens can interfere with sensitive communication between parents and children, and that hugs are a powerful means of helping parents and babies to relax!]

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