Maternal Dietary Patterns are Associated with Lower Levels of Cardiometabolic Markers during Pregnancy

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Elevated levels of cardiometabolic markers are characteristic of normal pregnancy, however, insulin resistance and increased glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels can adversely influence maternal and child health. Diet is a modifiable behaviour that could have significant impact on maternal cardiometabolic levels during pregnancy. We investigated the association between dietary patterns and cardiometabolic markers (glucose, insulin, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), triglycerides, and cholesterol) during pregnancy.


Data from the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition prospective cohort study (2000–05) was used (n = 513). Diet was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns were derived using latent class analysis (LCA) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Linear regression was used to examine the dietary patterns–cardiometabolic markers association during pregnancy.


Three dietary patterns evolved from the LCA characterised by high intakes of: (1) hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, French fries, fried chicken, white bread, and soft drinks; (2) some vegetables, fruit juice, refined grains, mixed dishes, processed meat, and empty calorie foods; and (3) fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, breakfast bars, and water. After adjustment for potential confounders including prepregnancy body mass index, a diet consistent with Latent Class 3 was negatively associated with maternal insulin (μU/mL: β = −0.12; 95% CI −0.23, −0.01) and HOMA-IR (β = −0.13; 95% CI −0.25, −0.00). Additionally, DASH scores within Tertile 3 (higher dietary quality) were also negatively associated with maternal triglycerides (mg/dL).


The study findings suggest an association between maternal dietary patterns and several cardiometabolic markers during pregnancy.

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