Effects of a Mediterranean diet in pregnant women with metabolic risk factors

  • H Al Wattar B & al.
  • PLoS Med
  • 1 Jul 2019

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

A Mediterranean-style diet in pregnancy does not reduce the overall risk for adverse maternal and offspring complications, according to a new research led by Queen Mary University of London.

The Effect of Simple, Targeted Diet in Pregnant Women With Metabolic Risk Factors on Pregnancy Outcomes (ESTEEM) trial was carried out in five maternity units across the UK between 12 September 2014 and 29 February 2016. The study randomised 1252 women inner-city pregnant women with metabolic risk factors (obesity, chronic hypertension or hypertriglyceridaemia) to a Mediterranean-style diet with high intake of nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, non-refined grains and legumes.

The primary endpoints were composite maternal (gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia) and composite offspring (stillbirth, small for gestational age or admission to neonatal care unit) outcomes.

Unfortunately, the results published in PLoS Medicine show that there was no significant reduction in the composite maternal (22.8% versus 28.6%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.56-1.03; P=.08) or composite offspring (17.3% versus 20.9%; aOR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.58-1.08; P=.14) outcomes.

There was an apparent reduction in the odds of gestational diabetes (aOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.47-0.91; P=.01) and less gestational weight gain (mean, 6.8 versus 8.3 kg; adjusted difference, −1.2 kg; 95% CI, −2.2 to −0.2 kg; P=.03).

Despite the lack of benefit on the primary endpoint of this study, the authors say future studies should assess the effect of in utero exposure to a Mediterranean-style diet on childhood obesity, allergy and asthma.