Media advisory

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


A study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health suggests that a healthy diet during pregnancy up to the second trimester of pregnancy may reduce the risk of some common pregnancy complications. I am. Pregnant women in this study who scored high on any of the three indicators of a healthy diet had a lower risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related blood pressure disorders, and preterm birth.This study was conducted by Quirin Chan, MD, Ph.D., and colleagues at NIH. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).It will be displayed in Journal of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition..

Researchers analyzed dietary data collected multiple times during pregnancy. NICHD Fetal Growth StudyApproximately 1,900 women were asked to complete a dietary questionnaire during the 8th to 13th week of gestation and estimate what they had eaten in the last three months. At 16-22 and 24-29 weeks, women identified what they had eaten in the last 24 hours. Their response was scored according to three measures of healthy eating. An Alternative Health Food Index (AHEI), an Alternative Mediterranean Diet (AMED), and a Diet (DASH) diet to stop high blood pressure. All three measures emphasize the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes and limit lean and processed meats.

Overall, researchers found that continuing a diet from pregnancy to the second trimester reduced the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, preterm birth, and preterm birth. For example, 16- Women with a high AHEI score at week 22 had a 32% lower risk of gestational diabetes than women with a low AHEI score. Women with high DASH scores at weeks 8-12 and 16-22 had a 19% lower risk of pregnancy-related hypertension. A high AMED score between weeks 24-29 or a high DASH score between weeks 24-29 reduces the risk of preterm birth by 50%.


Comments are welcomed by Cuilin Zhang, MD, Ph.D., MPH, Deputy Chief of NICHD Epidemiology Branch.


Li, M. Healthy Eating Patterns and Common Pregnancy Complications: Prospective and Longitudinal Studies. Journal of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2021.

regarding Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, improve the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize the abilities of all. For more information

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):NIH, a US medical research institute, includes 27 laboratories and centers and is a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is a leading federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, investigating the causes, treatments, and cures of both common and rare diseases. For more information on NIH and its programs, please visit:

NIH … Turn discovery into health®