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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Pregnancy Complications

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 17:39
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Posted on:

Thursday, October 20th 2016 at 1:00 pm
Written By:

Eleni Roumeliotou

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Pregnancy Complications

Recent evidence shows that Mediterranean diet is a safe way to prevent dangerous pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, which compromise the short- and long-term health of mothers and infants.

According to recent scientific findings, the Mediterranean diet may have powerful healing properties. Apart from the recently confirmed preventive value for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we now have evidence that Mediterranean diet can also reduce the risk for serious pregnancy complications, which can compromise the health of mothers and infants. This is not about merely a healthy diet anymore, but proof of the medicinal power of nutrition.

A brand new study from Australia shows that women who eat a Mediterranean diet before getting pregnant have less risk of suffering from hypertensive problems during pregnancy [1]. Somehow eating a diet based on extra virgin olive oil, fish, fruit and vegetables protects pregnant women and their babies from harmful pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and preterm birth. In fact, the more women eat a Mediterranean diet, the more health benefits and protection from gestational hypertension they enjoy. Unlike many small, pilot studies with few participants, this is a large study including a 9 year-follow-up of more than 3,500 women in Australia. Also, a recent review from 2014 found that consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, a component of the Mediterranean diet, also reduced risk for pregnancy hypertension [2].

This is great news considering the increasing rates of preeclampsia and premature birth around the world. More than 6.5 million women worldwide develop preeclampsia every year. In the US alone, 18% of maternal deaths and 15% of premature births are due to this condition. We don’t know what causes preeclampsia but we know that the only way it passes is by delivering the baby as soon as possible. There are very few ways to manage it successfully and until recently, no real way to prevent it.

Premature birth is not to be taken lightly either. Babies born too early are extremely vulnerable to several health problems, both short- and long-term, so any way to prevent such complications is much needed and welcome. According to the latest guide from the Institute of Medicine [3]:

… infants born preterm remain vulnerable to many complications, including respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, injury to the intestines, a compromised immune system, cardiovascular disorders, hearing and vision problems and neurological insult. Infants born at the lower limit of viability have the highest mortality rates and the highest rates of all complications.


The recent findings on the preventive value of the Mediterranean diet provide, for the first time, a safe, inexpensive and non-invasive intervention that could improve the perinatal and long-term health of mothers and their babies. If you are planning for a baby in the near future or are already trying to conceive, do have a look at Mediterranean style kitchen. It is delicious, easy and science says that it could help you could have an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy, full-term baby.



[1] Schoenaker DA et al. 2015. Prepregnancy dietary patterns and risk of developing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: results from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Am J Clin Nutr. 102(1):94-101.

[2] Danielle AJM Schoenaker et al. 2014. The association between dietary factors and gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMC Med. 2014; 12: 157.

[3] Behrman and Butler. 2007. Preterm birth: Causes, consequences and prevention.


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