A balanced diet reduces the risk of preterm birth

Pregnant women who focus on fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and purified water in their diets are much less likely to give birth before term, scientists from Norway, Sweden, and Iceland said, whose scientific work is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The authors analyzed data on 66,000 preterm births in Norway for 2002-2008. The study involved women who gave birth to one child, not suffering from diabetes. They needed to answer questions about the diet for the first 4-5 months of pregnancy. As side factors, the age of the mother, her education, past cases of premature birth were taken into account. The birth of a child between 22 and 37 weeks of pregnancy was considered premature.

Researchers have identified three main types of diet. “Economical” – with a high content of vegetables and fruits, vegetable oils and water, fiber-rich bread and whole grain products, as well as poultry meat, “western” – salty and sweet snacks, desserts, white bread and semi-finished meat products and “traditional” – stewed vegetables, fish, potatoes and skim milk.

So the number of preterm births amounted to slightly more than 3.5 thousand or 5.3% of cases. It is known that premature birth have long-term negative consequences for the baby’s health and can threaten his life.

The authors found that with the first type of nutrition, premature birth or miscarriage was much less common. The second place in the benefits for the unborn child was taken by the “traditional” diet. At the same time, emphasis on the “western” type of nutrition was not associated with preterm delivery. Scientists believe that it is most useful for a pregnant woman to add more products from the first list to the diet than simply exclude processed foods and harmful snacks. 

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