Women who eat more vegetables before pregnancy may have lower risk of premature birth. That is according to a new study that found the health benefits of diets that include traditional veggies, such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, cabbage, green beans and potatoes.
Researchers analyzed the health of nearly 3,500 women before conception. They found that those who consumed high amounts of the traditional vegetables prior to pregnancy had higher chances of reaching full term pregnancy.
“Traditional vegetables are rich in antioxidants or anti-inflammatory nutrients, which have a significant role in reducing the risk of adverse birth outcomes,” Dereje Gete, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, said in a statement. “Women depend on certain stored nutrients such as calcium and iron before conception, which are critical for placenta and fetus tissue development.”
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, highlights the importance of being on a healthy diet early when planning to conceive. Gete said starting to eat healthy foods only during pregnancy may be too late, especially at the end of the first trimester when babies are fully formed.
Premature Births In U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2018 that one in every 10 infants in the U.S. were born too early. Preterm birth rates have been increasing in the country in the past years.
The agency said African-American women reported more cases of premature birth. The number was 50 percent higher than white women in the U.S.
It is very important to reach a full term pregnancy. The baby goes through important developments in the final months and weeks, which involve the brain, lungs and liver.
The CDC said babies born too early are more likely to die or suffer from disability. Premature birth has been linked to various health conditions, such as problems with vision, hearing and breathing, feeding difficulties, cerebral palsy and developmental delay.
“Preventing preterm birth remains a challenge because there are many causes of preterm birth, and because causes may be complex and not always well understood,” the agency said on its website.
Researchers of the latest study said more tests are required to understand how eating more vegetables directly supports pregnancy.