Maternal Dietary Patterns and Fetal Growth: A Large Prospective Cohort Study in China

Nutrients. 2016 Apr 28;8(5):257. doi: 10.3390/nu8050257.


There was limited evidence revealing the association of Chinese maternal dietary patterns with fetal growth. We aimed to examine the relationship of maternal dietary patterns during pregnancy to neonatal birth weight and birth weight for gestational age in a Chinese population. A total of 6954 mother-child pairs were included from the Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study. Maternal diet during pregnancy was assessed using a self-administered food frequency questionnaire. Cluster analysis was used to identify dietary patterns. The following six dietary patterns were identified: "Cereals, eggs, and Cantonese soups" (n 1026, 14.8%), "Dairy" (n 1020, 14.7%), "Fruits, nuts, and Cantonese desserts" (n 799, 11.5%), "Meats" (n 1066, 15.3%), "Vegetables" (n 1383, 19.9%), and "Varied" (n 1224, 17.6%). The mean neonatal birth weight Z scores of women in the above patterns were 0.02, 0.07, 0.20, 0.01, 0.06, and 0.14, respectively. Women in the "Fruits, nuts, and Cantonese desserts" and "Varied" groups had significantly heavier infants compared with those in the "Cereals, eggs, and Cantonese soups" group. Compared with women in the "Cereals, eggs, and Cantonese soups" group, those in the "Varied" group had marginally significantly lower odds of having a small-for-gestational age (SGA) infant after adjustment for other confounders (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.57, 1.04, p = 0.08). These findings suggest that compared to a traditional Cantonese diet high in cereals, eggs, and Cantonese soups, a diet high in fruits, nuts, and Cantonese desserts might be associated with a higher birth weight, while a varied diet might be associated with a greater birth weight and also a decreased risk of having a SGA baby.

Keywords: China; cluster analysis; dietary patterns; fetal growth; prospective studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People
  • China
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pregnancy