Preterm birth and complication: poor diet increases risk by 50%

A study reveals that women who follow a diet “poor” or too rich in fats and sugars before their pregnancy, have a 50% increased risk of giving birth prematurely.

These conclusions, published in the Journal of Nutrition, supplement the body of data showing the importance of a balanced diet for the mother, throughout the perinatal period and from the moment of conception.

6 out of 10 women have no food concept before and during pregnancy

We now know that despite public health recommendations, 6 out of 10 women are unaware of appropriate weight gain during pregnancy and do not address, at conception and during pregnancy, the question of diet with the doctor or healthcare professional following them.

The prevalence of obesity in women is increasing, in pregnant women too, and many studies have shown that:

– the right weight of the mother is the right weight of the child,

– the weight gain of the mother should be adapted to her BMI,

– excess weight during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of complications…

The benefits of a good diet for childbirth

This study approaches the question a little differently by evaluating women’s diet before conception and investigating its impact on child birth outcomes.

Researchers tracked the eating habits of 300 women before pregnancy. Their analysis underlines on the one hand that women who have always followed a diet rich in protein (lean meat, fish, chicken, whole grains) and fruits and vegetables before pregnancy have a lower risk of premature delivery.

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Bad diet 50% more risk of premature delivery

On the other hand, women who have always followed a diet rich in saturated fats (prepared meals, crisps, cakes, etc.) and sugars have a 50% increased risk of premature delivery. Prematurity, which affects 10% of births, is a major cause of complications, illnesses and infant mortality, the authors point out. However, diet is a modifiable risk factor. Healthy eating before and during pregnancy can optimize health outcomes for both mom and baby.


JA Grieger et al. Preconception Dietary Patterns in Human Pregnancies Are Associated with Preterm Delivery. The Journal of Nutrition


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