Higher intake of fruit and vegetables in pregnancy is associated with birth size.

29 February 2012

The maternal diet affects fetal growth. This cross-sectional study examined the association between maternal micronutrients, consumption of fruit and vegetables and the baby's size at birth. Nutrients and dietary intake of 121 women aged 19 to 40 years, pregnant between 28 and 38 weeks of gestation were examined. The weight, length and head circumference at birth were obtained from medical records.

The results indicate no significant association between one of the measured nutrients and birth size.

However, an association was found on two of the six subgroups of vegetables and on fruit groups. An increase of 10 g of leafy vegetables per day was associated with an increase of 1.78 cm in head circumference, tuber vegetable consumption was associated with birth length and head circumference. Fruit consumption was associated with birth weight, length and birth head circumference. The lack of association between the nutrients intake of the mother and fetal growth and the significant association between intake of fruit and vegetables and birth size suggest the existence of other micronutrients and phytochemical compounds in these foods that play an important role in birth size. The types of nutrients and their roles on the birth size warrant further investigation.

Loy SL, Marhazlina M, Azwany YN, Hamid Jan JM.

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2011 Sep;42(5):1214-23.

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