A recently released study shows that women in their childbearing years who eat a healthy diet are less likely to have children born with birth defects.
A diet high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains considerably lowers the risk of a women bearing a child with birth defects.
The “Mediterranean style diet,” in comparison to diets with a high consumption of fats, sugars, and meat, lowered the risk of certain brain defects and cleft lips in babies.
The healthier diet eaten for at least 18 months prior to pregnancy reduced risks in babies as much as 50 percent.
The study, published in “Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine,” examined the eating habits and diets of 3,824 women who had babies born with birth defects.
“A lot of birth defects, including neural tube defects, occur very early in pregnancy, before women even know they’re pregnant,” said Suzan Carmichael from Stanford University, who worked on the study.
“These messages are important for women who are at any risk of becoming pregnant.”
The study looked at the dietary intake of 6,807 mothers of babies born healthy. Women with the highest-quality diets had children born with the least amount of birth defects.