The risk of premature delivery can be reduced by the consumption of traditional ‘three-veggies’, suggests a new study.

University of Queensland PhD candidate Dereje Gete analysed the diets of nearly 3,500 women and found high consumption of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, cabbage, green beans and potatoes before conception helped women reach full-term pregnancy.

“Traditional vegetables are rich in antioxidants or anti-inflammatory nutrients, which have a significant role in reducing the risk of adverse birth outcomes,” Gete said.

“Women depend on certain stored nutrients such as calcium and iron before conception, which are critical for the placenta and foetus tissue development,” he added.

“Starting a healthier diet after the baby has been conceived may be too late because babies are fully formed by the end of the first trimester,” he said.

Professor Gita Mishra said the study suggested dietary intervention and strategies change behaviour that may be helpful when women start thinking about having a baby.

“People born prematurely face a greater risk of metabolic and chronic diseases in adulthood, as well as poor cognitive development and academic performance,” Professor Mishra said.

Premature births, which are births before 37 weeks of gestation, are the leading cause of death in Australian children and affect 8.5 per cent of births each year, a figure which is trending upwards.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed. )

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