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The impact of a vegan diet on pregnancy outcomes

Abstract

Objective

To determine the effect of a maternal vegan diet on pregnancy outcome.

Study design

This is a prospective observational study. Women with a singleton pregnancy who maintained the same diet prior to, and throughout current pregnancy were enrolled. Stratification was performed according to diet type: vegans, lacto–ovo–vegetarians, fish-eaters, and omnivores.

Results

Overall, 273 women were enrolled, of them, 112 omnivores, 37 fish-eaters, 64 lacto–ovo–vegetarians, and 60 vegans. The vegan diet was significantly associated with an increased risk of small-for-gestational-age newborns compared only to an omnivore diet (RR = 5.9, 95% CI, 1.2–21.8). The incidence of preterm birth was similar in all groups. Vegans had lower birthweight compared to lacto–ovo–vegetarians (3015 ± 420 g vs. 3285 ± 482 g, P = 0.004), and to omnivores (3328 ± 495 g, P < 0.001), but not to fish-eaters. Vegans also had a lower mean gestational weight gain compared only to omnivores (11.6 ± 4.2 kg vs. 14.3 ± 4.6 kg, P = 0.001).

Conclusion

The vegan diet is associated with an increased risk for small-for-gestational-age newborns and lower birthweight.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Tomer Avnon—conception, methodology, investigation supervision, data curation, formal analysis, and drafting the initial paper. Efrat Paz Dubinsky—investigation and data curation. Inbar Lavie—formal analysis. Tali Ben-Mayor Bashi—investigation and data curation. Ronit Anbar—methodology and investigation. Yariv Yogev—methodology, investigation supervision, and resources. All authors revised the paper, gave final approval of the version to be published, and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Tomer Avnon.

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Avnon, T., Paz Dubinsky, E., Lavie, I. et al. The impact of a vegan diet on pregnancy outcomes. J Perinatol 41, 1129–1133 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-00804-x

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