There has been no clarity on whether a vegetarian diet is appropriate for pregnancy . Dr.Tan C, Zhao Y and associates conducted a a systematic review and meta-analysis to see association between vegetarian diet during pregnancy and various maternal-fetal outcomes.The researchers found that Asian women on vegetarian diet during pregnancy are at increased risk to deliver babies with low birth weight (LBW) compared with Caucasian women.The new new meta-analysis has been published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
Researchers searched PubMed-Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases for relevant articles published by August 30, 2017. Quantitative data were analyzed by a random-effects model with pooled odds ratios or weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval as aggregate estimation.They performed a meta-analysis of 19 observational studies identified .The pooled result of all trials showed that women on vegetarian diet during pregnancy were at increased risk for LBW incidence (OR, 1.27; P=.07). On subgroup analysis, vegetarian women of Asian (India/Nepal) ethnicity were at increased risk to deliver baby with LBW (OR, 1.33; P=.04) vs Caucasian women.
The pooled results of 5 studies found no significant association between vegetarian diets during pregnancy and neonatal birth weight (weighted mean difference, 61.71; P=.16).
The authors concluded that Asian vegetarian mothers presented increased risks to deliver babies with LBW than those of omnivores. Large-scale prospective studies focusing on pre- and/or early gestational nutrition will help clarify the correlation between vegetarian diet and various pregnancy outcomes.
“Our finding observes inconclusive evidence regarding the risk for hypospadias, intrauterine growth retardation, maternal anaemia, and gestational diabetes mellitus in vegetarian women because of high heterogeneity of the included studies in this meta-analysis. Hence, caution should be taken while selecting a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.” the authors suggested.