How What You Ate Before Pregnancy Affects Baby

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
June 11, 2018
woman preparing healthy meal with vegetables in kitchen
Image: iStock

You’ve always known you’re _supposed _to eat healthy, but being conscious of your choices is easier when you’re eating for two. Kudos to you if you cut out the chips and candy before getting a positive pregnancy test; a study out of the University of Adelaide in Australia just confirmed that a healthy pre-pregnancy diet has amazing benefits for birth.

According to _The Journal of Nutrition, _women who consistently ate foods high in sugar and fat _before _conception were 50 percent more likely to experience preterm labor, compared to women with a diet high in fruit and protein.

“In our study, women who ate protein-rich foods including lean meats, fish and chicken, as well as fruit, whole grains and vegetables, had significantly lower risk of preterm birth,” says Jessica Grieger, PhD, the lead author of the study.

If you’re a mom-to-be who couldn’t force down veggies pre-pregnancy, don’t freak out; there’s still plenty you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. Getting at least 27 milligrams of iron per day can decrease the risk of preterm labor and low birth weight. Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, lean meats and lentils; they’re some of the best sources of essentials like folic acid, calcium, and protein, which help baby’s growth and development.

“Diet is an important risk factor that can be modified. It is never too late to make a positive change,” says Grieger. So whether you’re trying to conceive or in your second trimester, back away from the vending machine now.

What do you think are the best foods to eat while pregnant? 

Related Video
Whole wheat pasta with vegetables on a dinner plate.

These Two Minerals May Reduce Baby’s Risk of Hypertension, Study Says

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Pregnant woman in the kitchen with her partner eating a healthy breakfast.

These Three Lifestyle Factors Lower Risk of Preterm Birth by 70 Percent

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
pregnant woman looking at tablet in her kitchen

So Long Seafood? Debunking Myths About Eating Fish During Pregnancy

profile picture of Allison Webster, PhD, RD
Allison Webster, PhD, RD
International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation
place setting for one with gold accents

6 Holiday Food Rules to Follow When Pregnant

profile picture of Erin van Vuuren and Lauren A. Greene
Erin van Vuuren and Lauren A. Greene
water in mason jars infused with fruit like lemon and raspberries

7 Natural Pregnancy Energy Boosters

profile picture of Meredith Franco Meyers
Meredith Franco Meyers
Contributing Writer
man cooking over stove in kitchen

Eating This Food During Pregnancy Can Boost Your Kid’s Attention Span

profile picture of Laurie Ulster
Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
folic acid supplement recommended for pregnant women

Yet Another Reason to Take Folic Acid: It’s Good for Your Baby’s Mental Health

profile picture of Ashley Edwards Walker
Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
hand stirring straw in soda which has added sugar

The Important Reason to Lay Off Sugar (but Not Fruit!) During Pregnancy

profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Article removed.