Mediterranean Diet May Ease Preeclampsia Risk in Pregnant Women

the diet is considered a part of a healthy eating plan. It includes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, spices, herbs, olive oil (the primary source of added fat) along with seafood (twice a week) and dairy, chicken, and eggs in moderate portions (


(signs of kidney damage). It affects 2% to 8% of pregnancies and can be


Preeclampsia generally ensues after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is known to cause 15% (about 3 in 20) of premature births (birth before 37 weeks of gestation) in the United States ().

It also doubles the risk for other complications like stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and heart diseases. The pregnancy-related risk is even higher among Black women who develop preeclampsia ().

Mediterranean Diet and Preeclampsia Link Explored

The Mediterranean diet is well-known for its protective effects against various heart diseases in adults ().

However, the present study analyzed the risk of developing preeclampsia in association with a Mediterranean-style diet among 8,500 at-risk women (diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds), who were enrolled in the Boston Birth Cohort between 1998 and 2016 ().

The average age group of the participants was 25 years. Black women dominated nearly half of the study group (47%), with Hispanic women contributing to about a quarter of the group (28%), and the remaining being white women or “other” race ().

Identifying Preeclampsia Risks

“The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries, and preeclampsia contributes to it. Given these health hazards to both mothers and their children, it is important to identify modifiable factors to prevent the development of preeclampsia, especially among Black women who are at the highest risk of this serious pregnancy complication,”
says Anum S. Minhas, MD, MHS, chief cardiology fellow and a cardio-obstetrics and advanced imaging fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore ().

The study data was analyzed based on self-reported information on a postpartum and Mediterranean-style diet questionnaire. It was found that consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet during pregnancy resulted in over 20% lower risk of preeclampsia ().

Minhas has explained, “This is remarkable because there are very few interventions during pregnancy that are found to produce any meaningful benefit, and medical treatments during pregnancy must be approached cautiously to ensure the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the mother and the unborn child.”

Opt for Mediterranean Diet

Overall, 10% of the study participants had developed preeclampsia. The study had also found that pre-pregnancy comorbidities like diabetes and obesity posed twice the risk of developing preeclampsia among the women when compared to those without the conditions ().

Moreover, participants who had the lowest consumption of Mediterranean-style diet showed the highest risk (28%) for preeclampsia. However, further data are required to overcome study limitations like self-reported information on food consumption and its frequency ().

It is thereby necessary that “women should be encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet and regular exercise, at all stages in life. Eating healthy foods regularly, including vegetables, fruits, and legumes, is especially important for women during pregnancy. Their health during pregnancy affects their future cardiovascular health and also impacts their baby’s health,” says Minhas ().

References :

  1. Nutrition and healthy eating
    Print – (
  2. Preeclampsia – (
  3. What is preeclampsia? – (
  4. Mediterranean‐Style Diet and Risk of Preeclampsia by Race in the Boston Birth Cohort – ( )
  5. Following a Mediterranean-style diet during pregnancy may reduce the risk of preeclampsia – (

Source: Medindia

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