Maternal sugar consumption and risk of preeclampsia in nulliparous Norwegian women

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;66(8):920-5. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.61. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Background/objectives: Dietary factors have been hypothesized to influence the risk of preeclampsia. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between maternal intake of sugar and foods with a high content of added or natural sugars and preeclampsia.

Subjects/methods: A prospective study of 32,933 nulliparous women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Participants answered a general health questionnaire and a validated food frequency questionnaire during pregnancy. Information about preeclampsia was obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. The relative risk of preeclampsia was estimated as odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and adjusted for known confounders.

Results: The intake of added sugar was higher in women who developed preeclampsia than in healthy women in the unadjusted analysis, but not in the adjusted model. Of food items with a high content of added sugar, sugar-sweetened carbonated and non-carbonated beverages were significantly associated with increased risk of preeclampsia, both independently and combined, with OR for the combined beverages 1.27 (95% CIs: 1.05, 1.54) for high intake (> = 125 ml/day) compared with no intake. Contrary to this, intakes of foods high in natural sugars, such as fresh and dried fruits, were associated with decreased risk of preeclampsia.

Conclusions: These results suggest that foods with a high content of added sugar and foods with naturally occurring sugars are differently associated with preeclampsia. The findings support the overall dietary advice to include fruits and reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parity*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents