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17-10-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Fruit and vegetables key to preventing small-for-gestational-age births


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results show that a pre-pregnancy diet low in fruit could increase the risk for having a baby small-for-gestational-age (SGA), while a diet risk in green leafy vegetables could protect against this outcome.

Lesley McCowan, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues investigated which pre-pregnancy clinical, and ultrasound variables were associated with SGA (defined as a birthweight of less than the tenth customized centile) in a cohort of 3513 healthy, nulliparous women.

As expected from previous research results, the majority of the 376 SGA infants were born to normotensive mothers, at 74.7 percent.

Women who consumed fruit less than weekly pre-conception had a two-fold increased risk for normotensive-SGA, while daily consumption of at least three servings of green leafy vegetables reduced overall and normotensive-SGA by 50 percent.

Cigarette smoking at 15 weeks gestation and daily vigorous exercise were also associated with an increased risk for overall and normotensive SGA.

No specific associations were observed for hypertensive-SGA.

"Future studies will be necessary to determine whether these potential risk factors and protective factors identified in a healthy nulliparous cohort are generalizable to different populations of pregnant women," conclude McCowan et al.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy