Better Maternal Diet May Cut Risk for Fetal Growth Restriction

High Healthy Eating Index score during pregnancy linked to lower risk for fetal growth restriction, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
pregnant woman at work eating an apple
pregnant woman at work eating an apple

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THURSDAY, Feb. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A high-quality diet in late pregnancy is associated with a lower risk for fetal growth restriction (FGR), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, held virtually from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.

Xiao Yu Wang, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study to assess whether a high-quality diet (measured by a high Healthy Eating Index [HEI] 2015 score) in pregnancy is associated with a lower risk for FGR. The analysis included 762 patients answering a food questionnaire in the third trimester or within three months of delivery.

The researchers found that 17 percent of participants had a high HEI score and 83 percent had a lower HEI score (mean HEI score, 60). A high HEI was associated with a lower likelihood of FGR (adjusted rate ratio, 0.33) or hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (adjusted rate ratio, 0.46) versus a lower HEI, when adjusting for obesity and chronic hypertension. No differences were seen between the groups for large for gestational age or gestational diabetes.

"What this research shows us is that HEI is another tool we can use, especially in collaboration with dieticians and nutritionists, to counsel our patients to help improve pregnancy outcomes," Wang said in a statement. "HEI also puts the power into the hands of the patient because the tool reveals risk factors that a patient can modify to help create a healthier pregnancy and a better pregnancy outcome."


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