Background: Substantial epidemiological evidence documents diverse health benefits, including reduced risks of hypertension, associated with diets high in fiber. Few studies, however, have investigated the extent to which dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy is associated with reductions in preeclampsia risk. We assessed the relationship between maternal dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy and risk of preeclampsia. We also evaluated cross-sectional associations of maternal early pregnancy plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations with fiber intake.
Methods: The study population comprised 1,538 pregnant Washington State residents. A 121-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to assess maternal dietary intake, 3 months before and during early pregnancy; and generalized linear regression procedures were used to derive relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Dietary total fiber intake was associated with reduced preeclampsia risk. After adjusting for confounders, the RR of preeclampsia for women in the highest (> or =21.2 g/day) vs. the lowest quartile (<11.9 g/day) was 0.28 (95% CI = 0.11-0.75). We observed associations of similar magnitude when the highest vs. the lowest quartiles of water-soluble fiber (RR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.11-0.86) and insoluble fiber (RR = 0.35; 95% CI = 0.14-0.87) were evaluated. Mean triglyceride concentrations were lower (-11.9 mg/dl, P = 0.02) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were higher (+2.63 mg/dl, P = 0.09) for women in the highest quartile vs. those in the lowest quartile.
Conclusions: These findings of reduced preeclampsia risk with higher total fiber intake corroborate an earlier report; and expand the literature by providing evidence, which suggests that dietary fiber may attenuate pregnancy-associated dyslipidemia, an important clinical characteristic of preeclampsia.