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25 November 2013 10:36
Eating plenty of fruit may cut the chances of complications in pregnancy
Eating plenty of fruit before and during pregnancy could help cut women's risk of suffering complications, new research suggests.
The study found a woman's chances of enjoying an fuss-free pregnancy could be boosted by following a healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight and blood pressure.
Researchers believe thousands more women every year could enjoy an uncomplicated pregnancy if their blood pressure was better controlled.
Scientists from King's College London monitored 5,600 first-time mums in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The women were asked to complete questionnaires about their diets and medical histories; regularly had their blood pressure measured and underwent an ultrasound scan between 19 and 21 weeks of their pregnancy.
The researchers also collected details about the women's babies once they were born.
They found women who had a healthy diet that included eating at least three pieces of fruit a day during the month running up to conception were more likely to be among the 61% who had an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Fewer complications were also found to await women who had normal blood pressure and had a health body mass index (BMI).
The potential for complications during pregnancy is one of the reasons why having a
pregnancy travel insurance policy is a must for all travelling mums-to-be. The study found the most common complications facing women during pregnancy are high blood pressure (8%) and pre-eclampsia (5%) while the most common on the babies' side are premature birth (4%) and being small for their gestational age (11%).
The study's authors say more research is needed but estimate more than 24,600 extra women each year could have an uncomplicated pregnancy if their high blood pressure was simply brought under control.
Lead author Dr Lucy Chappell, of the division of women's health at King's, said: "These findings suggest that by leading a healthy lifestyle both before and during pregnancy - including eating lots of fruit and maintaining a healthy BMI - it could be possible for women to increase the likelihood of experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy."
The study's findings are published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
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