Prenatal Dietary Patterns and Associations With Weight-Related Pregnancy Outcomes in Hispanic Women With Low Incomes

Lauren T. Berube, Andrea L. Deierlein, Kathleen Woolf, Mary Jo Messito, Rachel S. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dietary patterns during pregnancy may contribute to gestational weight gain (GWG) and birthweight, but there is limited research studying these associations in racial and ethnic minority groups. The objective of this study was to evaluate associations between prenatal dietary patterns and measures of GWG and birthweight in a cohort of culturally diverse Hispanic women with low incomes. Methods: Data were analyzed from 500 mother-infant dyads enrolled in the Starting Early Program, a childhood obesity prevention trial. Diet over the previous year was assessed in the third trimester of pregnancy using an interviewer-administered food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns were constructed using the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) and principal components analysis (PCA) and analyzed as tertiles. GWG and birthweight outcomes were abstracted from medical records. Associations between dietary pattern tertiles and outcomes were assessed by multivariable linear and multinomial logistic regression analyses. Results: Dietary patterns were not associated with measures of GWG or adequacy for gestational age. Greater adherence to the HEI-2015 and a PCA-derived dietary pattern characterized by nutrient-dense foods were associated with higher birthweight z-scores [β: 0.2; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.04 to 0.4 and β: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.5, respectively], but in sex-specific analyses, these associations were only evident in male infants (β: 0.4; 95% CI: 0.03 to 0.7 and β: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.03 to 0.6, respectively). Conclusions: Among a cohort of culturally diverse Hispanic women, adherence to healthy dietary patterns during pregnancy was modestly positively associated with increased birthweight, with sex-specific associations evident only in male infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • Hispanic Americans
  • birthweight
  • dietary patterns
  • gestational weight gain
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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