Good nutrition is never more essential than during pregnancy and new research has once again linked high-fat meals to birth difficulties. A team from Oregon Health & Science University found fast food and fatty meals decrease blood flow from the mother to the placenta, increasing the risk of stillbirth.
"This study demonstrates that maternal diet during pregnancy has a profound influence on both placental and fetal development,” said Antonio Frias, M.D., principal investigator and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
Blood flow from the mother to the fetus is essential, as decreased blood flow can lead to abnormal fetal growth, preeclampsia, preterm labor and stillbirth.
Poor nutrition in pregnancy has also been linked to increased risk of diabetes and poor brain development.
The team studied pregnant monkeys that ate a high-fat diet, and found a reduction in blood flow of between 38% to 50%.
Further studies are needed to determine exactly how a high-fat diet decreases placental blood flow, the researchers report.