In a mother-infant cohort study involving mothers and 787 infants, results indicate a beneficial effect of maternal vegetable consumption during pregnancy on fetal growth. Fruit and vegetable consumption during pregnancy was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Women who ate the fewest vegetables were significantly more likely to have infants who are small for gestational age (SGA). Women who ate the most vegetables had significantly more babies who were at least normal weight. Additionally, women in the lowest quintile of vegetable intake during the first trimester showed more than a five-fold increased risk of having a SGA length infant, compared to women in the highest quintile of intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Our findings indicate that vegetable consumption throughout pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on fetal growth.”
Of course the best way to get good greens is to eat kale, collards and other cruciferous vegetables. But given all the powdered green functional foods on the market it would be useful to know if they would offer a similar benefit. I cannot think of any reason that a well made green supplement would not offer similar benefit. The products I most use for my patients are ProGreens, Nanogreens and PaleoGreens. Also many Dietitians sell Juice Plus which is a bit pricey, however I do feel it is a very good product. Whole Foods sells some good green products as well such as Green Vibrance. My wife Joy took the aforementioned greens throughout pregnancy, but could not stomach kale or collards because of the pregnancy hormonal changes.
Bottom line is that women need to eat well before and during pregnancy. Several studies show that maternal diet has an important impact on offspring. So if you plan on getting pregnant then a nutritional checkup is prudent.
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Maynard, MA & Cambridge, MA