Lower Cholesterol Good for Mom and Baby

JANUARY 01, 2006

Results of a Norwegian study have shown that pregnant women who stick to a diet low in cholesterol have less risk of delivering prematurely. The results of the study were reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The researchers studied the effects of a diet designed to cut cholesterol on levels of lipids in maternal, cord, and neonatal blood, as well as on overall pregnancy outcome, in 290 nonsmoking pregnant women aged 21 to 38 years. From the 17th to the 20th week of pregnancy until birth, the mothers either kept to their regular diet or adopted a diet rich in fish, low-fat meats and dairy products, oils, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

When the women delivered, only one of the 141 women on the low-cholesterol diet delivered before the 37th week, compared with 11 of the 149 who stayed with their regular diet. According to Janette Khoury,MD, of the National Hospital in Oslo, "these results indicate that dietary intervention in pregnancy can modify cardiovascular risk factors in pregnancy and may result in health benefits for mother and child."