Evidence linking maternal diet quality during pregnancy with infant birth outcomes is limited in Asia.
We investigated the association of maternal diet quality with the risk of preterm birth, offspring birth size, and adiposity in a multiethnic Asian birth cohort.
Dietary intakes of 1051 pregnant women were ascertained at 26-28 wk of gestation with the use of 24-h recalls and 3-d food diaries, from which diet quality (score range: 0-100) was measured by the Healthy Eating Index for pregnant women in Singapore (HEI-SGP). Gestational age was established by first-trimester ultrasound dating scan. Neonatal weight and length were measured at birth. Body composition was assessed by air displacement plethysmography in a subset of infants (n = 313) within 72 h after birth, and abdominal adiposity was assessed by MRI (n = 316) within the first 2 wk of life. Associations were assessed by multivariable linear regression for continuous outcomes and logistic regression for preterm birth.
The mean ± SD maternal HEI-SGP score was 52.1 ± 13.6. Maternal diet quality during pregnancy was not associated with preterm birth or birth weight. Greater adherence to the HEI-SGP (per 10-point increment in HEI-SGP score) was associated with longer birth length [β (95% CI): 0.14 (0.03, 0.24 cm)], lower body mass index (in kg/m2) at birth [-0.07 (-0.13, -0.01)], lower sum of triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness [-0.15 (-0.26, -0.05 mm)], lower percentage body fat [-0.52% (-0.84%, -0.20%)], lower fat mass [-17.23 (-29.52, -4.94 g)], lower percentage abdominal superficial subcutaneous adipose tissue [-0.16% (-0.30%, -0.01%)], and lower percentage deep subcutaneous adipose tissue [-0.06% (-0.10%, -0.01%)].
Higher maternal diet quality during pregnancy was associated with longer birth length and lower neonatal adiposity but not with birth weight and preterm birth. These findings warrant further investigation in independent studies. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01174875.