APR 22, 2023 3:00 PM PDT

Eating Lots of Fruits and Vegetables Could Lower Miscarriage Risk

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have long been hallmarks of a healthy diet. Styles of eating like the Mediterranean diet, for example, have long been heralded as a great source of nutrition and promoting overall health. A key part of those diets? Plenty of fruits and vegetables offer important nutrients like fiber and antioxidants to combat various health conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

According to a team of researchers at the University of Birmingham, fruit and vegetable-heavy diets consumed prior to conception and in the early stages of pregnancy are linked with a lower risk of miscarriage. Researchers described their work, a review of previous literature, in a new piece published in Fertility and Sterility.

Miscarriage is a fairly common phenomenon, with about 1 in 6 pregnancies resulting in a miscarriage. In many cases, there are clear causes, such as infections. But in many more cases, the cause of miscarriage is less clear. This new study highlights the role of diet and lifestyle changes as potential positive factors in preventing miscarriage.

In their study, researchers collected research looking at the time frame just before pregnancy and up to three months. These collected studies represented about 63,000 women of reproductive age and included information about dietary habits collected through questionnaires.

Overall, researchers concluded that compared to those who consumed low amounts of fruits, those who ate high amounts of fruit in the pre-conception and early pregnancy stages had a 61% reduced risk of miscarriage. The risk was reduced by 42% for vegetable intake. Conversely, a diet high in processed foods appeared to double the miscarriage risk. The team also looked for evidence of whether specific diet plans, such as the Mediterranean diet, were linked to reduced miscarriage link. While the team could not find such a link, the team did find evidence that general, overall healthy eating (e.g., plenty of foods with antioxidants, few foods known to cause inflammation) may reduce the risk.

The team suggests that more prospective research is needed to better examine the link between specific diets or foods and the risk of miscarriage.

Sources: EurekAlert!; Fertility and Sterility

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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