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Br J Nutr. 2012 May;107(10):1526-33. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511004636. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Maternal dietary patterns in pregnancy and fetal growth in Japan: the Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study.

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  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Epidemiology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Maternal nutritional status during pregnancy is an important determinant of fetal growth. Although the effects of several nutrients and foods have been well examined, little is known about the relationship of overall maternal diet in pregnancy to fetal growth, particularly in non-Western populations. We prospectively examined the relationship of maternal dietary patterns in pregnancy to neonatal anthropometric measurements at birth and risk of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) birth among 803 Japanese women with live-born, singleton, term deliveries. Maternal diet in pregnancy was assessed using a validated, self-administered diet history questionnaire. Dietary patterns from thirty-three predefined food groups (g/4184 kJ) were extracted by cluster analysis. The following three dietary patterns were identified: the 'meat and eggs' (n 326), 'wheat products', with a relatively high intake of bread, confectioneries and soft drinks (n 303), and 'rice, fish and vegetables' (n 174) patterns. After adjustment for potential confounders, women in the 'wheat products' pattern had infants with the significantly lowest birth weight (P = 0·045) and head circumference (P = 0·036) among those in the three dietary patterns. Compared with women in the 'rice, fish and vegetables' pattern, women in the 'wheat products' pattern had higher odds of having a SGA infant for weight (multivariate OR 5·2, 95 % CI 1·1, 24·4), but this was not the case for birth length or head circumference. These results suggest that a diet high in bread, confectioneries, and soft drinks and low in fish and vegetables during pregnancy might be associated with a small birth weight and an increased risk of having a SGA infant.

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