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An Investigation of the Relationship Between Dietary Patterns in Early Pregnancy and Maternal/Infant Health Outcomes in a Chinese Cohort

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posted on 2022-07-15, 14:58 authored by JV de Seymour, KL Beck, CA Conlon, MB Jones, J Colombo, YY Xia, TL Han, HB Qi, H Zhang, PN Baker

Background: Studies assessing links between maternal diet and pregnancy outcomes have focused predominantly on individual nutrients or foods. However, nutrients are typically consumed in combinations of foods or beverages (i.e., dietary patterns). Taking into account the diet as a whole appreciates that nutrient absorption and metabolism are influenced by other nutrients and the food matrix. 

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between dietary pattern consumption in early pregnancy and pregnancy/infant outcomes, including gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational weight gain, preeclampsia, placental weight, gestational age at delivery, small-for-gestational-age, large-for-gestational-age, macrosomia, measures of infant body composition, and scores on two main indices of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development [Mental Development Index (MDI) and the Psychomotor Development Index (PDI)] at 12 months. 

Design: Our study included 1,437 participants from a mother-infant cohort in Chongqing, China. Maternal diet was assessed using a 96-item food frequency questionnaire at 11–14 weeks gestation. Dietary patterns were constructed using principal component analysis. Multivariate regressions were performed to assess associations between maternal dietary pattern scores and pregnancy and infant outcomes, adjusting for confounders. 

Results: Two dietary patterns were derived: a pattern high in pasta, sweetened beverages, and oils and condiments (PSO-based dietary pattern) and a pattern high in fish, poultry, and vegetables (FPV-based dietary pattern). Higher scores on the PSO-based dietary pattern were associated with lower infant standardized scores on the PDI of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, β (95% confidence interval) = −1.276 (−2.392, −0.160); lower placental weight, β (95% CI) = −6.413 (−12.352g, −0.473); and higher infant's tricep skinfold thickness at 6 weeks of age. β (95% CI) = 0.279 (0.033, 0.526). Higher scores on the FPV-based dietary pattern were associated with higher gestational weight gain between visit 1 (11–14 week's gestation) and 3 (32–34 week's gestation). β (95% CI) = 25.612 (13.255, 37.969). No significant associations were observed between dietary pattern scores and the remaining pregnancy/infant outcomes investigated or MDI scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. This was the first study to investigate the association between dietary patterns in early pregnancy and infant neurocognition in a Chinese cohort.


Joint Health Research Council New Zealand–National Science Foundation of China Biomedical Research Fund (19/804). JdS Postdoctoral Fellowship was funded by Lottery Health New Zealand. The CLIMB randomized controlled trial (which showed no significant difference between any of the intervention/control arms) was supported in part by the New Zealand Primary Growth Partnership Post Farmgate Dairy Programme, funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd., New Zealand and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.



de Seymour JV, Beck KL, Conlon CA, Jones MB, Colombo J, Xia Y-Y, Han T-L, Qi H-B, Zhang H and Baker PN (2022) An Investigation of the Relationship Between Dietary Patterns in Early Pregnancy and Maternal/Infant Health Outcomes in a Chinese Cohort. Front. Nutr. 9:775557. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.775557

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