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Eating Junk Food can Lead to Preterm Delivery for Women Trying to Conceive

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 26, 2014
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Junk food does no good to anybody, especially to women who are trying to conceive. Women who eat junk food and sugary snacks before they fall pregnant are 50 percent more likely to have a premature baby, according to a new report.

preterm deliveryThis latest University study assessed women’s diet prior to conception and its impact on the outcomes of birth. They observed that large amounts of fat, sugar, and takeaway foods increase the risk of baby arriving early. This is the first time that these observations were made.

Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute, found that not just the diet during pregnancy but diet before conception has a role to play in poorer outcomes for the mother and baby. Women were advised to eat protein rich foods including lean meats, fish, chicken, fruit, whole grains and vegetables, to avert the risk of preterm birth. The risk could be avoided to about 50% than the women who consume junk food.

Dr Jessica Grieger, post doctoral Research Fellow with the Robinson Research Institute said: 'Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant disease and death and occurs in approximately one in 10 pregnancies globally. Anything we can do to better understand the conditions that lead to preterm birth will be important in helping to improve survival and long-term health outcomes for children.'

'In our study, women who ate protein-rich foods including lean meats, fish and chicken, as well as fruit, whole grains and vegetables, had significantly lower risk of preterm birth.'

Dr Geiger said: 'On the other hand, women who consumed mainly discretionary foods, such as takeaway, potato chips, cakes, biscuits, and other foods high in saturated fat and sugar were more likely to have babies born preterm.'

'It is important to consume a healthy diet before as well as during pregnancy to support the best outcomes for the mum and baby.'

She added: 'Diet is an important risk factor that can be modified. It is never too late to make a positive change. We hope our work will help promote a healthy diet before and during pregnancy. This will help to reduce the number of neonatal deaths and improve the overall health of children.'

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Other Risk Factors for Preterm Delivery

Mayo Clinic says that often, the specific cause of premature birth isn't clear. Many factors may increase the risk of premature birth, however, including:

  • Having a previous premature birth
  • Pregnancy with twins, triplets or other multiples
  • An interval of less than six months between pregnancies
  • Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
  • Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta
  • Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs
  • Poor nutrition
  • Some infections, particularly of the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract
  • Some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or domestic violence
  • Multiple miscarriages or abortions
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Unusual shape of the uterus


For unknown reasons, black women are more likely to experience premature birth than are women of other races. But premature birth can happen to anyone. In fact, many women who have a premature birth have no known risk factors.

Source: Daily Mail
Image Courtesy: Getty

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