Healthy Pregnancy Diet Decreases Baby’s Chances Of Heart Problems, Study Shows

Aug 25, 2015 08:45 AM EDT | By Victoria Guerra

While it's always been advised to follow healthy eating habits during the months of gestation, a recent piece of research from the British Medical Journal shows that there might be one extra benefit that hadn't been accounted for in the past: it would seem like following a healthy pregnancy diet could in fact decrease the baby's chances of suffering heart problems.

A recent study of approximately 19,000 women in the United States showed that a healthy pregnancy diet was linked to healthier hearts in their children once they were born, after approximately half of the women studied gave birth to healthy children while the other half gave birth to babies with major heart problems.

According to BBC, what researchers deemed a "healthy pregnancy diet" involved plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and fresh fish - in all, it sounds a lot like the highly celebrated Mediterranean diet, which has been found in the past to offer a great deal of benefits to those who follow it even for a short while.

Medical Daily reports that those expecting mothers who followed healthy pregnancy diets high on the Mediterranean Diet Score (which evaluates the proximity of a person's diet to the Mediterranean one) and the Diet Quality Index for Pregnancy (which assesses eight components that should be present in a pregnant woman's diet such as iron and grains) had a significantly lower risk of giving birth to babies with heart defects; in fact, combined high scores were 37 percent less likely to be born with a specific abnormality called tetralogy of Fallot, which leads to low oxygen blood levels.

In a statement given to Eureka Alert, the healthy pregnancy diet researchers specified that, since this was merely an observational study, there were no specific cause-and-effect scenarios, but this sets the precedent for upcoming studies on the subject.

In any case, this new healthy pregnancy diet study shows that, even during gestation, it's not a bad idea to follow the Mediterranean regime.

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