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M Barchitta et al, 2023. The Effect of Maternal Dietary Patterns on Birth Weight for Gestational Age: Findings from the MAMI-MED Cohort, Nutrients, Volume 15 (8).

The Effect of Maternal Dietary Patterns on Birth Weight for Gestational Age: Findings from the MAMI-MED Cohort

M Barchitta
Nutrients, Volume 15 (8)
April 17, 2023


Limited evidence exists on the effects of maternal dietary patterns on birth weight, and most studies conducted so far did not adjust their findings for gestational age and sex, leading to potentially biased conclusions. In the present study, we applied a novel method, namely the clustering on principal components, to derive dietary patterns among 667 pregnant women from Catania (Italy) and to evaluate the associations with birth weight for gestational age. We identified two clusters reflecting distinct dietary patterns: the first one was mainly characterized by plant-based foods (e.g., potatoes, cooked and raw vegetables, legumes, soup, fruits, nuts, rice, wholemeal bread), fish and white meat, eggs, butter and margarine, coffee and tea; the second one consisted mainly of junk foods (sweets, dips, salty snacks, and fries), pasta, white bread, milk, vegetable and olive oils. Regarding small gestational age births, the main predictors were employment status and primiparity, but not the adherence to dietary patterns. By contrast, women belonging to cluster 2 had higher odds of large for gestational age (LGA) births than those belonging to cluster 1 (OR = 2.213; 95%CI = 1.047–4.679; p = 0.038). Moreover, the odds of LGA increased by nearly 11% for each one-unit increase in pregestational BMI (OR = 1.107; 95%CI = 1.053–1.163; p < 0.001). To our knowledge, the present study is the first to highlight a relationship between adherence to an unhealthy dietary pattern and the likelihood of giving birth to a LGA newborn. This evidence adds to the current knowledge about the effects of diet on birth weight, which, however, remains limited and controversial.

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