Pregnant women’s diets may prevent their baby’s heart defects

Pregnant women’s diets may prevent their baby’s heart defects

A new study linked healthy preconception and prenatal diets to lower risks of congenital heart defects.

Pregnancy requires vegetables.   A new study found a direct link between a pregnant woman’s diet and the likelihood of her baby having heart defects.

As the Parent Herald reports, a new study looked at 19,000 women between 1997 and 2009. Almost 10,000 of the women gave birth to children with heart defects, while the remaining 9,500 had babies with healthy hearts.

Congenital heart defects are an under-publicized but alarmingly common health problem for newborns. Around 1 percent of all babies are born with heart defects and 1 in 4 of them will not survive the condition. “They are common, they are critical, and we really don’t know how to prevent them,” Dr. Lorenzo Botto of the University of Utah School of Medicine said.

The study found that women who were in the top 25% of healthy diet rankings were much less likely to have babies with congenital heart problems than women in the lowest 25%. The women with superior diets slashed their babies’ risk of atrial septal defect and tetralogy, two major and complicated defects, by 23 and 37% respectively.

One of the most important aspects of the study was that the healthy diet was important for not just the gestational period but the year before the women got pregnant. Botto pointed out that this indicates doctors and women should focus just as much on preconception care as on prenatal care.

A healthy diet was focused on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. However, scientists warn that no actual cause and effect link between diet and heart defects were found, meaning there still may be unanswered reasons for congenital health problems.

So, no guarantee, but maybe eat healthy just in case.

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