Home Medizin Studie zeigt, dass gesunde Ernährung das Risiko einer Präeklampsie bei schwangeren Frauen senkt

Studie zeigt, dass gesunde Ernährung das Risiko einer Präeklampsie bei schwangeren Frauen senkt

von NFI Redaktion

A recent editorial published in the Journal of the American Heart Association highlights the importance of nutrition as a lifestyle intervention to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

Study: Diet as a lifestyle intervention to lower preeclampsia risk. Image credit: SUKJAI PHOTO / Shutterstock

Study: Diet as a lifestyle intervention to lower preeclampsia risk. Image credit: SUKJAI PHOTO / Shutterstock


The prevalence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia and pregnancy-associated hypertension, is increasing globally, affecting up to 10% of pregnant women. These disorders are associated with high maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality and significantly increase the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease in mothers.

Lifestyle factors, including diet, are crucial for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and high-quality lean proteins, such as the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, have been found to significantly reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular-related death.

Given the overlap between hypertensive pregnancy disorders and cardiovascular diseases, it is expected that healthy dietary habits can also reduce the risk of hypertensive pregnancy disorders.

Recent research suggests that pregnant women who adhere more closely to the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including hypertensive pregnancy disorders. However, a study conducted on women with pre-pregnancy risk factors did not find any positive effects of the Mediterranean diet in reducing the risk of preeclampsia.

To better understand the effects of a healthy diet on pregnancy risk in hypertensive disorders, researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, analyzed data from the ongoing MADRES study (Maternal And Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social stressors), which predominantly involved low-income Hispanic/Latin American women from Los Angeles, California.

About the Study

The study population included 451 adult women who completed up to two 24-hour dietary recalls (solid fats, refined grains, and cheese as well as vegetables, oils, and fruits; VOF diet) in the third trimester of pregnancy. Information on hypertensive pregnancy disorders was derived from the participants‘ medical records.

The researchers used multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the association between participants‘ dietary habits and the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (an index of diet quality according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) with preeclampsia, pregnancy-associated hypertension, and other hypertensive pregnancy disorders. They also assessed the associations with participants‘ body mass index (BMI).

Study Findings

The study found that higher consumption of solid fats, refined grains, and cheese was associated with an increased risk of developing preeclampsia and any hypertensive pregnancy disorders. In contrast, a stronger adherence to the VOF diet reduced the risk of preeclampsia. The analysis did not show a significant association between the Healthy Eating Index-2015 and the risk of hypertension disorders during pregnancy.

A subgroup analysis based on pre-pregnancy BMI revealed that the VOF diet could reduce the risk of preeclampsia in overweight women but not in obese, underweight, or normal-weight women.

Further analyses, excluding women with pre-pregnancy hypertension, did not demonstrate a positive impact of the VOF diet on reducing the risk of preeclampsia. This could be due to wider confidence intervals caused by a smaller sample size.

However, there is still the possibility that a healthy diet like the VOF diet may be less effective in reducing the risk of preeclampsia in women with pre-pregnancy cardiometabolic risk factors, including hypertension and obesity. These observations underscore the need to optimize cardiometabolic health before pregnancy to reduce negative pregnancy outcomes.

Significance of the Study

The study shows that consumption of solid fats, refined grains, and cheese may increase the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy. In contrast, consuming vegetables, oils, and fruits through diet can effectively prevent the development of preeclampsia in low-income Hispanic/Latin American women.

Existing evidence suggests that consumption of fats and processed meats is associated with increased systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, major features of pre-pregnancy hypertension and obesity. These factors could be responsible for the development of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.

The limited availability and affordability of healthy foods for women with low incomes highlight the impact of socioeconomic disparities on adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Future studies should include women of different races and ethnicities as well as those with pre-pregnancy cardiometabolic risk factors to more conclusively determine the influence of healthy dietary habits on the risk of hypertensive pregnancy disorders.

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