Association between a Mediterranean-type diet and risk of preterm birth among Danish women: a prospective cohort study

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2008;87(3):325-30. doi: 10.1080/00016340801899347.


Background: Thus far, few factors with a causal relation to preterm birth have been identified. Many studies have focused on the woman's diet, but most have been discouraging. The aim of the present study was to examine if maternal intake of a Mediterranean-type diet (MD) is associated with reduced risk of preterm birth.

Methods: The Danish National Birth Cohort assessed diet in mid-pregnancy by food frequency questionnaires (FFQ). Women consuming MD were those who ate fish twice a week or more, used olive or rape seed oil, consumed 5+ fruits and vegetables a day, ate meat (other than poultry and fish) at most twice a week, and drank at most 2 cups of coffee a day.

Results: Of 35,530 non-smoking women, 1,137 (3.2%) fulfilled all MD criteria, and 540 (1.5%) none. Odds ratios for preterm birth and early preterm birth were 0.61 (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.35-1.05) and 0.28 (0.11-0.76), respectively, in MD women compared to women fulfilling none of the MD criteria.

Conclusion: Shifting towards a MD during pregnancy may reduce the risk of early delivery in Danish women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires