Eating a Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of deadly pregnancy condition, study finds 

Eating a Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of deadly pregnancy condition, study finds

  • Pregnant women who eat a Mediterranean diet suffer less complications
  • They can reduce their risk of suffering preeclampsia by more than 25%
  • The condition affects one-in-14 pregnant women, including Kim Kardashian

A mother who eats the famed Mediterranean diet while pregnant is at a decreased risk of suffering a deadly pregnancy condition, a study suggests.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California, found that women who adhered to the diet were at a 28 percent decreased risk of developing preeclampsia.

The condition affects one-in-14 pregnant women – including Kim Kardashian and Mariah Carey. It occurs when a woman’s blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels during pregnancy, and she suffers kidney and liver damage.

Mediterranean diets have been widely praised by doctors and nutritionists alike for its ability to stave of heart and brain issues, along with boosting eaters’ overall health

Researchers found that women who ate the Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to suffer the potentially deadly pregnancy condition, preeclampsia (file photo)

The study, published Thursday is JAMA Network Open included data from 7,798 women.

Participating women who were pregnant with their first child were asked to complete a food frequency questionnaire during their first trimester.

The questionnaire focused on the women’s eating habits during the three months prior to their visit and asked them to report their intake of common foods and drinks.

The answers were then categorized into the nine components of a Mediterranean diet – vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, red and processed meats, and alcohol

Levels of each in a person’s diet were combined to calculate a Mediterranean diet score, quantifying how much of the foods a person ate.

Dr Bello, director of Hypertension Research at Cedars-Sinai, said: ‘We also looked at the individual components of the Mediterranean diet and found higher intakes of vegetables, legumes and fish were related to lower associated risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome.’ 

The findings showed that a high Mediterranean diet score was related to 21 percent lower odds of having any adverse pregnancy outcome.

It specifically was associated with a 28 percent lower risk of preeclampsia and a 37 percent lower risk of gestational diabetes – where a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy.

Professor Christine Albert, chair of the Department of Cardiology said the diet is an ‘important lifestyle approach’ for the prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

This could especially be valuable in pregnant women over the age of 35. 

Prof Albert added: ‘These findings add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that the Mediterranean-style diet may play an important role in preserving the health of women across the lifespan, including during pregnancy.’

Dr Bello says long-term studies are needed to assess whether promoting a Mediterranean-style diet around the time of conception and throughout pregnancy can prevent pregnancy complications and reduce future cardiovascular risk.

Preeclampsia affects up to eight percent of pregnant women worldwide. It is believed to be responsible for 15 percent of premature pregnancies in the US.

It is responsible for nearly 76,000 maternal deaths and the deaths of 500,000 babies each year. 

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