News article

Dietary Interventions Before and During Pregnancy Can Positively Affect Birthweight and Length

Posted:  Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nutrition before conception and during pregnancy is important for healthy infants. Poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy has been shown to lead to adverse birth outcomes and long-term negative consequences for the developing fetus.

A recent study explored this by conducting a review of 29 randomized controlled trials (selected from 2326 abstracts) that assessed the whole diet or dietary components of mothers and the corresponding neonatal or infant outcomes.

A meta-analysis was conducted separately for each outcome by using a random-effects model. Results were reported by dietary intervention as follows: 1) counseling, 2) food and fortified food products, or 3) a combination (counseling plus food) intervention, and 4) collectively for all dietary interventions. Results were subanalyzed by the nutrient of interest, country income, and BMI.

The review concluded that food and fortified food products were effective in increasing birth weight. All dietary interventions and those focused on macronutrient intake also increased birth weight and length and reduced the incidence of low birth weight. Dietary interventions in low-income countries and underweight or nutritionally at-risk populations increased birth weight and reduced the incidence of low birth weight. No effects were seen for the following other outcomes: placental weight, head circumference, macrosomia, Ap-gar score, small for gestational age, large for gestational age, and perinatal mortality.

However, the authors have highlighted the need for additional high-quality randomized controlled trials that test different dietary interventions are required to identify those maternal diet intakes that optimize neonatal and infant outcomes.

Read more here.