Vegan Diet During Pregnancy Tied to Lower Birth Weight

Mothers with vegan diets also have higher rates of preeclampsia
Vegan Diet During Pregnancy Tied to Lower Birth Weight
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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 31, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Women adhering to vegan diets during pregnancy have offspring with lower mean birth weight than omnivorous mothers, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Signe Hedegaard, M.D., from the Juliane Marie Centre at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues examined associations of different forms of plant-based diets during pregnancy with birth outcomes and pregnancy complications. The analysis included 100,413 pregnancies to 91,381 women in Denmark from 1996 to 2002.

The researchers found that 1.0 percent identified as fish/poultry vegetarians, 0.3 percent as lacto/ovo-vegetarians, and 0.03 percent as vegans. Compared with omnivorous participants, protein intake was lower among lacto/ovo-vegetarians (13.3 percent) and vegans (10.4 percent). Vegans had lower intake of micronutrients, although when dietary supplements were taken into consideration, no major differences persisted. Vegan mothers had a higher prevalence of preeclampsia, and their offspring had on average −240-g lower birth weight.

"Women adhering to vegan diets during pregnancy had offspring with lower mean birth weight compared to omnivorous mothers," the authors write. "Further research is needed regarding possible causality between plant-based diets and pregnancy and birth outcomes to strengthen the basis for dietary recommendations."

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