Background: Based on data obtained from pregnant women who participated in the Mothers and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study in South Korea, we aimed to determine whether maternal intake of fruits and vegetables or vitamin C is associated with fetal and infant growth.
Methods: A total of 1138 Korean pregnant women at 12-28 weeks gestation with their infants were recruited as study participants for the MOCEH. Intake of fruits and vegetables or vitamin C during pregnancy was assessed by a 1-day 24-h recall method. Fetal biometry was determined by ultrasonography at late pregnancy. Infant weight and length were measured at birth and 6 months.
Results: A multiple regression analysis after adjusting for covariates showed that maternal intake of fruits and vegetables was positively associated with the biparietal diameter of the fetus and infant's weight from birth to 6 months. Also, maternal vitamin C intake was positively associated with the abdominal circumference of the fetus and infant birth length. In addition, there was a significant inverse relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables (below the median compared to above the median of ≥519 g/d) and the risk of low growth (<25th percentile) of biparietal diameter (odds ratio (OR): 2.220; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.153-4.274) and birth weight (OR: 1.434; 95% CI: 1.001-2.056). A significant inverse relationship also existed between vitamin C consumption (below vs above the estimated average requirement (EAR) of ≥85 mg/d) and the risk of low growth (<25th percentile) of birth weight (OR: 1.470; 95% CI: 1.011-2.139), weight from birth to 6 months (OR: 1.520; 95% CI: 1.066-2.165), and length at birth (OR: 1.579; 95% CI: 1.104-2.258).
Conclusions: An increased intake of fruits and vegetables or vitamin C at mid-pregnancy is associated with increased fetal growth and infant growth up to 6 months of age.
Keywords: Birth length; Birth weight; Fetal growth; Fruits; Infant growth; Vegetables; Vitamin C.