The Importance Of A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet

pregnant woman eating on couch

Women who eat healthy diets prior to pregnancy are less likely to have a baby born with a heart defect, researchers report.

Women who followed a very healthy diet were 37 percent less likely than those who ate poorly to have a baby with tetralogy of Fallot, a complex heart defect that causes babies to turn blue because their blood can’t carry enough oxygen. The women also were 23 percent less likely to have a baby born with an atrial septal defect, or a hole in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart, the study found.

Women and their babies benefited most from a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fish, with limited intake of dairy, meat and sweets, the researchers found. Foods rich in nutrients like folic acid, iron and calcium were also considered healthy, the study authors said.