Purpose: The relation between diet and maternal mental health during pregnancy might be relevant to prevent adverse materno-foetal outcomes. This study examined the association of Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence and MD components with mental health during pregnancy.
Methods: This secondary analysis of the GESTAFIT trial included longitudinal data from 152 pregnant women. Dietary habits were assessed with a food frequency questionnaire, and MD adherence was derived from it using the Mediterranean Food pattern. Psychological ill-being (i.e., negative affect, anxiety, and depression) and well-being (i.e., emotional intelligence, resilience, positive affect) were assessed with the Spanish version of well-established self-reported questionnaires. Cross-sectional (16th gestational week [g.w.]) and longitudinal associations (34th g.w.) between MD and mental health were studied using linear regression models.
Results: A greater MD adherence was inversely associated with negative affect and anxiety; and positively associated with emotional regulation, resilience and positive affect at the 16th and 34th g.w. (|β| ranging from 0.179 to 0.325, all p < 0.05). Additionally, a higher intake of whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, and a lower intake of red meat and subproducts and sweets were associated with lower negative affect, anxiety, depression and higher emotional regulation, resilience and positive affect throughout gestation (|β| ranging from 0.168 to 0.415, all p < 0.05).
Conclusion: A higher intake of whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, together with a lower intake of red meat and sweets, resulted in a higher MD adherence, which was associated with a better mental health during pregnancy.
Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Diet; Mediterranean; Mental Health; Pregnancy; Pregnant women.
© 2022. The Author(s).