Vegan diet during pregnancy linked to higher preeclampsia and lower birth weight risks

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Women who follow vegan diets during pregnancy may face higher risks of developing preeclampsia and of giving birth to newborns with lower birth weight, suggests a recent study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

For the study, 65,872 women identified themselves as omnivorous, 666 as fish/poultry vegetarians, 183 as lacto/ovo vegetarians, and 18 as vegans. Based on a questionnaire completed mid-pregnancy, investigators found that protein intake was lower among lacto/ovo vegetarians (13.3%) and vegans (10.4%) compared with omnivorous participants (15.4%). Micronutrient intake was also much lower among vegans, but when dietary supplements were considered, no major differences were observed.

Compared with omnivorous mothers, vegan mothers had a higher prevalence of preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure), and their newborns weighed an average of 240 g less.

"Further research is needed regarding possible causality between plant-based diets and pregnancy and birth outcomes, to strengthen the basis for dietary recommendations," the authors wrote.

Source:
Journal reference:

Hedegaard, S., et al. (2024) Adherence to different forms of plant-based diets and pregnancy outcomes in the Danish National Birth Cohort: A prospective observational study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14778.

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