A Mediterranean-style diet may help offset risks for pregnancy complications

A colorful display of vegetables, fruit, seeds, and fish is shown.

Mediterranean-style eating patterns may help reduce risks for pregnancy complications, according to NIH-supported research in JAMA Network Open.  
The nuMoM2b study, which included feedback from more than 7,000 first-time moms, found those who created meals around heart-healthy foods leading up to pregnancy were 21% less likely to experience certain complications. This included having a 28% reduced associated risk for preeclampsia, a sudden rise in blood pressure, and a 37% reduced associated risk for gestational diabetes. Women ages 35 and older and those whose diets contained a higher proportion of Mediterranean-style foods, like colorful vegetables, fruits, beans, and fish, saw even greater benefits.

The researchers conclude that heart-healthful eating appeared to have universal health benefits and may especially benefit first-time moms with increased risks for pregnancy complications. However, additional research is necessary to understand if adopting a Mediterranean-style diet in advance of and during pregnancy would reduce risks for pregnancy complications.