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Gestational weight is an important indicator of maternal and fetal health during pregnancy. When gestational weight is too low or too high, it can lead to adverse health consequences. If weight is too low, it can cause a fetus to grow too slowly while in the mother’s womb. It can also lead to the baby’s weight being too low when they are born. High gestational weight has been linked to premature delivery. It has also been linked to an increased risk of childhood obesity. So obviously, ensuring that a fetus remains in the healthy gestational weight range is important. A new study investigated the effects of plant-based diets on gestational weight. 

The study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was a part of the Persian Birth Cohort study. In the study, researchers looked at how different plant-based diets affected gestational weight. The researchers felt that this was important due to the growing popularity of plant-based diets. They wanted to understand how maternal consumption of a plant-based diet would affect the weight of a fetus. Importantly, they wanted to know if plant-based diets were linked to either low or high gestational weights. 

The researchers recruited pregnant women from the Iranian city of Semnan for the study. These women were asked to provide information about their diets. Indexes were created to assess which dietary range maternal food consumption fell into. The indexes correlated to different plant-based dietary types. The types of diets were: plant-based, healthy plant-based, and unhealthy plant-based. The researchers created the indexes by assigning scores that correlated to the healthiness of both plant-based food and foods that contain animal products. Participants answered a questionnaire consisting of 90 questions about how often they consumed certain foods. Researchers then looked at the diets and drew conclusions. 

The researchers found that participants whose diets aligned more closely with plant-based dietary patterns lessened the chances of low gestational weight. This may be because plant-based foods are typically higher in fiber. Fiber helps the body feel fuller, which can help to control weight. The study did not find any association between plant-based diets and high gestational weight.

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