- Eating plenty of olive oil and walnuts can reduce the risk of having a baby by 42%
- And stress management and practicing mindfulness can reduce risk by up to 34%.
- Study authors said results need to be replicated before treatment is recommended
One study suggests that pregnant women who follow a Mediterranean diet may be less likely to have a very young child.
Spanish scientists followed 1,200 mothers, tracking them through the second half of their pregnancies. They were considered at risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Babies who are born small – meaning their birth weight is the lowest 10 percentile – are more likely to suffer from problems with brain and heart development as they get older.
The results showed that women who ate a Mediterranean diet, which included lots of vegetables, fruits and olive oil, were 42 percent less likely to have a very young child.
According to the same study, mindfulness was also thought to help.
The modern form of meditation practiced by celebrities including Prince Harry and Beyoncé reduced the risk by 34 percent.
The 1,200 women were divided into three groups to allow researchers to compare differences.
A third followed a Mediterranean diet, a third practiced stress reduction techniques, while the remaining women received usual care.
But academics noted that the study should be considered preliminary evidence, and should be repeated before treatment is recommended to patients.
It’s not clear what causes babies to be born small, but risk factors include the mother being over 40, smoking, and being obese.
There is currently no scientifically proven way to prevent a baby from being born smaller than it should be.
The graph shows the birth weight and gestational age of newborns whose mothers participated in the trial, in relation to whether they ate a Mediterranean diet (top), engaged in stress reduction courses (middle) or usual care (bottom). ) received. Each point shows how much the baby weighed and the week it was born, with the middle line in the horizontal and vertical box plots showing the average for each group. In the control group, 88 newborns (21.9 percent) were considered small, compared to only 55 (14 percent) in the Mediterranean diet group and 61 (15.6 percent) in the stress reduction group.
The women were asked to follow the Mediterranean diet for two-hour monthly individual and group education sessions, to receive personalized advice and recipes. They were also given two liters of extra-virgin olive oil and 450 grams of walnuts per month free of cost. The group was encouraged to eat at least five servings of whole grains, three servings of vegetables and dairy products each day, as well as two servings of fresh fruit. They were also asked to eat legumes, nuts, fish and white meat three times a week.
Women in the stress reduction group took part in an eight-week course that included weekly 2.5-hour sessions and one full day session. They were also asked to follow a daily 45-minute meditation session that focused on mindfulness, mindfulness yoga, body awareness and group discussion
The researchers said lifestyle factors, including poor nutrition and high levels of stress, may also be associated with a higher risk of having a very young child.
They may also be behind other pregnancy complications as they are associated with inflammation of the placenta.
The team recruited 1,221 women at a hospital in Barcelona between February 2017 and October 2019 who were 19 to 23 weeks pregnant and at high risk of having a small child.
The women were asked to receive two-hour monthly individual and group education sessions, personalized advice and recipes on how to follow the diet.
They were also given two liters of extra-virgin olive oil and 450 grams of walnuts per month free of cost.
What is a Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet includes the traditional healthy lifestyle of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain.
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so there are many definitions.
But in general, it is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, grains, cereals, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. This usually involves a reduced intake of meat and dairy foods.
The Mediterranean diet has been linked to good health, including a healthy heart.
You can make your diet more Mediterranean by:
- eating lots of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta
- eating lots of fruits and vegetables
- Include fish in your diet
- eating less meat
- choosing products made from vegetables and vegetable oils, such as olive oil
The group was encouraged to eat at least five servings of whole grains, three servings of vegetables and dairy products each day, as well as two servings of fresh fruit.
They were also asked to eat legumes, nuts, fish and white meat three times a week.
Women in the stress reduction group took part in an eight-week course that included weekly 2.5-hour sessions and one full day session.
They were also asked to follow daily 45-minute meditation sessions that focused on mindfulness, mindful yoga, body awareness and group discussion.
And the remaining third of the participants received regular care and screening during their pregnancies.
According to the results published in JAMA, 88 newborns (21.9 percent) in the control group were smaller.
This was compared to only 55 in the Mediterranean diet group (14 percent) and 61 (15.6 percent) in the stress reduction group.
The researchers also monitored rates of other adverse outcomes, including preterm birth, preeclampsia, and neonatal mortality.
In the standard care group, 105 newborns (26.2 percent) suffered one of these events, while 73 (18.6 percent) in the group who changed their diet and 76 (19.5 percent) in the group that managed their stress. Were.
Researchers led by Professor Eduard Gretakos, an expert in fetal medicine, said that having a baby that is too small for her…