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A new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has found that women who eat a low-fat, fiber-rich diet in the year before becoming pregnant have a significantly lower risk of having children with certain serious birth defects.

“What’s important about this study is that it shows that the whole diet matters – not just one nutrient or supplement,” said Suzan Carmichael, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at Stanford University. “Those things are important, too, but this shows that you have to eat right.”

The study analyzed maternal diets and the incidence of both neural tube defects like spina bifida and orofacial defects such as cleft palates.

Mothers-to-be take note — a whole foods plant-based diet containing vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains is not only low in fat, but also fiber-rich! This article has some great tips on what to eat when you’re hoping to be expecting.

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