HealthDay News — Lower maternal fiber intake during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for neurodevelopmental delay in offspring, according to a study published online July 27 in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Kunio Miyake, Ph.D., from the University of Yamanashi in Chuo, Japan, and colleagues examined the association between maternal dietary fiber intake during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental delay in offspring using data from 76,207 mother-infant pairs in a nationwide prospective cohort study. A food frequency questionnaire administered in midpregnancy was used to estimate maternal dietary fiber intake, which was classified into quintiles. The association between dietary fiber intake and developmental delay, measured in five domains at the age of 3 years, was assessed.
The researchers found that compared with the highest intake group, the lowest intake group of total dietary fiber had a significantly increased risk for delayed communication, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social skills (adjusted odds ratios, 1.51, 1.45, 1.46, and 1.30, respectively). A similar trend was seen in an analysis that excluded the effects of insufficient folic acid intake during pregnancy.
“Most pregnant women in Japan consume far less dietary fiber than what is the recommended intake; thereby, this maternal nutritional imbalance during pregnancy may adversely affect the neurodevelopment of their offspring,” the authors write. “Nutritional guidance for pregnant mothers is crucial to reduce the risk of future health problems for their children.”