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Effects of maternal diets on preterm birth and low birth weight: a systematic review

  • Dereje G. Gete (a1), Michael Waller (a1) and Gita D. Mishra (a1)

Abstract

Current evidence indicates that maternal diets before and during pregnancy could influence rates of preterm birth, low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA) births. However, findings have been inconsistent. This review summarised evidence concerning the effects of maternal diets before and during pregnancy on preterm birth, LBW and SGA. Systematic electronic database searches were carried out using PubMed, Embase, Scopus and Cochrane library using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines. The review included forty eligible articles, comprising mostly of prospective cohort studies, with five randomised controlled trials. The dietary patterns during pregnancy associated with a lower risk of preterm birth were commonly characterised by high consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and dairy products. Those associated with a lower risk of SGA also had similar characteristics, including high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, seafood/fish and milk products. Results from a limited number of studies suggested there was a beneficial effect on the risk of preterm birth of pre-pregnancy diet quality characterised by a high intake of fruits and proteins and less intake of added sugars, saturated fats and fast foods. The evidence was mixed for the relationship between maternal dietary patterns during pregnancy and LBW. These findings indicate that better maternal diet quality during pregnancy, characterised by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and protein diets, may have a synergistic effect on reducing the risk of preterm birth and SGA.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dereje G. Gete, email d.gete@uqconnect.edu.au

References

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Effects of maternal diets on preterm birth and low birth weight: a systematic review

  • Dereje G. Gete (a1), Michael Waller (a1) and Gita D. Mishra (a1)

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