Adherence to different forms of plant-based diets and pregnancy outcomes in the Danish National Birth Cohort: A prospective observational study

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

The number of people adhering to plant-based diets has been increasing dramatically in recent years, fueled by both environmental and animal welfare concerns. Beneficial or possible adverse consequences of such diets, particularly the most restrictive forms during pregnancy, have been minimally explored. The aim of this prospective observational study was to examine associations between different forms of plant-based diets during pregnancy with birth outcomes and pregnancy complications.

Material and methods
The Danish National Birth Cohort included 100 413 pregnancies to 91 381 women in 1996–2002. The population consisted of 66 738 pregnancies, about which sufficient dietary data were available and included in the study. Dietary and supplemental intake was assessed by Food Frequency Questionnaire in gestational week 25 and women were characterized as fish/poultry-vegetarians, lacto/ovo-vegetarians, vegans or omnivorous, based on their self-report in gestational week 30. Main outcome measures were pregnancy and birth complications, birth weight and small for gestational age.

A total of 98.7% (n = 65 872) of participants were defined as omnivorous, whereas 1.0% (n = 666), 0.3% (n = 183) and 0.03% (n = 18) identified themselves as fish/poultry vegetarians, lacto/ovo-vegetarians or vegans, respectively. Protein intake was lower among lacto/ovo-vegetarians (13.3%) and vegans (10.4%) than among omnivorous participants (15.4%). Intake of micronutrients was also considerably lower among vegans, but when dietary supplements were taken into consideration, no major differences were observed. Compared with omnivorous mothers, vegans had a higher prevalence of preeclampsia and their offspring had on average −240 g (95% confidence interval −450 to −30) lower birth weight.

The women reporting that they adhered to vegan diets during pregnancy had offspring with lower mean birth weight and higher risk of preeclampsia compared with omnivorous mothers. Low protein intake might be one plausible explanation for the observed association with birth weight.
TidsskriftActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Danish Council for Independent Research, Grant/Award Number: DFF – 4183‐00152 and DFF – 4183‐00594. The Danish National Birth Cohort Study and its dietary component has been supported by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation (6‐FY‐96‐0240, 6‐FY97‐0553, 6‐FY97‐0521, 6‐FY00‐407), the Danish Heart Association, Danish Medical Research Council, Sygekassernes Helsefond, Innovation Fund Denmark (Grant No. 09‐067124) and the Danish National Research Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG).

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