Healthier Maternal Diet Linked to Reduced Risk of Birth Defects

Japanese DinnerAccording to a recent report published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a healthier maternal diet during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of birth defects.

Suzan L. Carmichael, Ph.D., from Stanford University, and colleagues looked at data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study investigation in order to determine if the quality of the maternal diet during pregnancy was linked to a reduced risk of certain birth defects in the baby.

The study, which looked at data collected from pregnant women from ten states through phone interviews whose dues dates ranged from October 1997 and December 2005, concluded that “higher maternal diet quality in the year before pregnancy was associated with lower risk for neural tube defects and orofacial clefts.” In other words, mothers who consumed healthier diets lowered their risk of giving birth to a baby with a birth defect.

Furthermore, although other studies show that taking a folic acid supplement also decreases the risk of neural tube defects, folate supplements may adversely affect the health of certain individuals. This study therefore underscores the importance of a healthy diet before and during pregnancy.


Higher maternal diet quality may reduce risk of birth defects:
Pregnant women having a healthier diet found to reduce birth defect risk:

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