Organic vegetables protect pregnant women

Pregnant women who regularly consume organic vegetables would present a lower risk of pre-eclampsia (hypertension) than women who do not consume them.

The objective of this study was to examine the potential associations between the consumption of organic foods and the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in women during their first pregnancy.

Classically, pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension occurs in the second half of pregnancy. In severe cases, it can threaten the life of the mother and the fetus. It is also a common cause of prematurity in newborns.

In this prospective cohort study, 28,192 women pregnant with their first child were followed between 2002 and 2008. The interview included a food frequency questionnaire and a general health questionnaire between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy.

A risk lowered by 24%

At the end of the study, 5.3% of the women listed in the analysis developed pre-eclampsia. Women who often or most of the time consumed organic vegetables (8.8% of the total sample) saw this risk lowered by 24%, compared to women who never or only occasionally consumed them.

This association remains valid even after adjustment for various confounding factors including the balance of the diet. On the other hand, it is only observed for organic vegetables and not for other categories of organic food (fruits, cereals, eggs, milk and their mixes). According to the authors, this protection could be explained by a lower exposure of the mother to pesticides, to certain secondary plant metabolites and/or to the influence of the composition of the intestinal microbiota.

Hanne Torjusen: Reduced risk of pre-eclampsia with organic vegetable consumption: results from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, BMJ Open, e006143.


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