Mediterranean diet in pregnancy: the benefits

Fonte: shutterstock

Less risk of developing gestational diabetes and less likely to put on excessive weight, which could have negative effects for mother and baby: these are the main benefits conferred by a 'Mediterranean-type food during the nine months of pregnancy. The results of a study involving over 1250 pregnant women from five British obstetrics wards, published in the journal PLoS Medicine by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, say so.

Read also: Diet during pregnancy

The participants were divided into two groups: some were offered the classic path of antenatal care, while others have also received a detailed nutritional plan, which would help them to follow a Mediterranean-type diet. The diet included a high intake of extra virgin olive oil (half a liter per week) e dried nuts (30 grams per day), as well as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes and a fairly high consumption of fish. The consumption of white meat and dairy products is more contained and that of red and processed meat is much reduced. Finally, red light for sugary drinks, fast food foods and foods rich in animal fats.


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Well, at term of pregnancy the future mothers who had followed the "med" diet showed, other things being equal,

  • a lower rate of gestational diabetes (35% less)
  • and a lower weight gain (on average 1,25 kg less)

compared to the women who continued to eat as usual.

Although no positive effects have been shown on other risks, such as that of pre-eclampsia or having a newborn small for gestational age, however, these are significant results especially for women considered to be at high obstetric risk because they already start from non-optimal conditions, such as obesity, chronic hypertension and high concentrations of fats in the blood.

Read also: Weight gain in pregnancy: neither too much nor too little, but the starting weight also matters a lot

What is more, the participants invited to follow the new diet declared one better quality of life in general during the months of pregnancy and a less tendency to abdominal bloating. All in all, they easily accepted the change of diet. Facilitated, in this, also by an accurate work of the researchers, who have tried to adapt in a "Mediterranean" version some recipes typical of different culinary traditions (for example Indian, given the high number of women of different ethnic origins participating in the study) . Adapted recipes (chapati bread, salmon tikka, chicken biryani and more) are available at this link, in English.

Read also: Gastric Disorders in Pregnancy: What Happens Quarter by Quarter

Updated on 09.10.2022

  • Mediterranean diet
  • pregnancy feeding
  • diabetes
  • pregnancy weight
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