Mediterranean diet during pregnancy

A simple Mediterranean diet in pregnancy does not reduce the overall risk of adverse maternal complications and offspring, but it does have the potential to reduce weight gain in pregnancy and the risk of gestational diabetes , according to a University-led clinical trial. Queen Mary of London and the University of Warwick, UK.

The results, to which Ep has had access and which have been published in the journal «PLOS Medicine» , show that a Mediterranean diet ( including 30 grams of mixed nuts per day and extra virgin olive oil ) reveals that there was a risk 35 percent less to develop diabetes in pregnancy and, on average, 1.25 kilos less weight gain in pregnancy, compared to those who received routine prenatal care.

The study suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet could be an effective intervention for women entering a pregnancy with previous obesity, chronic hypertension, or elevated lipid levels.

Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, Queen Mary University of London, says: “This is the first study showing that pregnant women at high risk for complications can benefit from a Mediterranean-style diet to reduce weight gain and the risk of gestational diabetes”.

“The implementation of this diet seems to be effective and acceptable for women,” she adds. Current national dietary guidelines do not include the key components of the Mediterranean-style diet in their recommendations. Women who are at risk for gestational diabetes should be encouraged to take action early in pregnancy by consuming more nuts, olive oil, fruits, and whole grains, while reducing their intake of animal fats and sugar. ”

Dr Bassel Wattar of the University of Warwick and Queen Mary University of London notes that, “Although a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications in the general population, so far no We knew the effect of such a diet on high-risk pregnant women, and whether it could be culturally adapted for an ethnically diverse population. ”

One in four mothers who become pregnant had previous obesity, chronic hypertension, or elevated lipid levels. This can lead to complications in pregnancy, including gestational diabetes (when a high blood sugar level occurs during pregnancy) and preeclampsia, the onset of high blood pressure in pregnancy that can sometimes develop into conditions more severe affecting multiple organs. These mothers and their babies also have a long-term risk of diabetes and cardiovascular complications.

A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, reduces the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in the non-pregnant population. In pregnancy, such a diet has the potential to improve maternal and child outcomes, but has so far not been widely evaluated.

The ESTEEM study involved 1,252 women in five UK maternity units (four in London, including hospitals at the Barts Health NHS Trust and St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and one in Birmingham).

Pregnant women in a multi-ethnic city interior with metabolic risk factors, including obesity and chronic hypertension, were randomized to receive routine prenatal care or a Mediterranean-style diet in addition to their prenatal care. The diet included a high consumption of nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and legumes; Moderate to high consumption of fish, small to moderate intake of poultry and dairy products, and low intake of red and processed meats. They should also avoid sugary drinks, fast foods, and foods high in animal fat.

Despite improvements in gestational diabetes and weight gain during pregnancy , there was no improvement in other major pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, stillbirth, small for the gestational age fetus, or unit admission of neonatal care .

Participants in the Mediterranean-style diet group reported an overall better quality of life than those in the control group and reduced bloating in pregnancy, but there was no effect on other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or indigestion.

When the study data was combined with published data from a Spanish study involving 874 pregnant women on a Mediterranean diet , the team observed a similar reduction in gestational diabetes (a 33 percent reduction), but no effect on other results.

To promote consumption during pregnancy, participants in the Mediterranean-style diet received complementary mixed nuts (30 g / day of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) and extra virgin olive oil (0.5 liters / week) as the main source of cooking fat. Participants also received individualized dietary advice at 18, 20, and 28 weeks of gestation.

The diet was made culturally sensitive by providing cooking tips through a bespoke recipe book that incorporated elements of the Mediterranean diet into local cuisine, developed with teams from the local community.


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