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.
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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.