Dietary patterns and the risk of pregnancy-associated hypertension in the Danish National Birth Cohort: a prospective longitudinal study

E. Ikem*, T. I. Halldorsson, B. E. Birgisdóttir, M. A. Rasmussen, S. F. Olsen, E. Maslova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine the association between mid-pregnancy dietary patterns and pregnancy-associated hypertension (PAH). Design: A prospective longitudinal cohort study. Setting: Denmark. Population: About 55 139 Danish women with single enrolments and recorded food frequency questionnaire dates with complete information on dietary intake. Methods: Women were eligible if they could speak Danish and were planning to carry to term. Diet was assessed using a validated semi-quantitative 360-item food frequency questionnaire and dietary patterns were derived using factor analysis. Main outcome measures: Gestational hypertension (GH) and pre-eclampsia (PE). Results: Disease prevalence was 14% for GH (5491/39 362); 2% for PE (1168/54 778), and 0.4% for severe PE (234/55 086). Seven dietary patterns were characterised in the population, of which two were associated with PAH. The Seafood diet characterised by high consumption of fish and vegetables was inversely associated with the odds of developing GH [odds ratio (OR) 0.86; 95% CI 0.77–0.95)] and PE (OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.65–0.97). The Western diet characterised by high consumption of potatoes (including French fries), mixed meat, margarine and white bread increased the odds of developing GH (OR 1.18; 95% CI 1.05–1.33) and PE (OR 1.40; 95% CI 1.11–1.76). No association was seen with severe PE. Conclusions: We found protective associations of Seafood diet and harmful associations of Western diet with PAH. Dietary interventions encouraging the reduction of Western diet may contribute to a decrease of PAH. Tweetable abstract: Western diet increases (Seafood diet decreases) the likelihood of developing pre-eclampsia among Danish pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-673
Number of pages11
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

EI was supported by a travel grant from the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, United Kingdom and the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland to work on the data. EM was funded by a fellowship grant from the Danish Diabetes Academy supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Collection of the dietary data was supported by March of Dimes Foundation (6-FY-96-0240, 6-FY97-0553, 6-FY97-0521, 6-FY00-407), the Health Foundation (11/263-96) and the Heart Foundation (96-2-4-83-22450). The present analyses were supported by Innovation Fund Denmark (grant no. 09-067124, ‘Centre for Fetal Programming’). The funding parties had no influence on the study design, data collection, analysis and data interpretation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Other keywords

  • Dietary patterns
  • gestational hypertension
  • pre-eclampsia
  • pregnancy-associated hypertension
  • Western diet


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