Plant-based dietary patterns during pregnancy are associated with a reduced risk for some complications, according to a new systematic review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In a review of 32 studies, researchers found that a plant-based diet higher in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and lower in red and processed meat and fried foods led to a lower risk for preterm birth and spontaneous preterm birth. In the United States, almost 1 in 10 births are preterm and account for more than one-third of neonatal deaths. Babies born preterm are at increased risk for complications such as hearing and vision problems, respiratory issues, and delayed motor and cognitive skills.
Raghavan R, Dreibelbis C, Kingshipp BL, et al. Dietary patterns before and during pregnancy and birth outcomes: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109:729S-756S.