Newswise — It has been shown that both heavy and occasional drinking among the general population are linked to eating less fruits and vegetables, and eating more processed and fried meat. This is particularly worrisome for pregnant women, as both drinking and inadequate nutrition can have adverse consequences for the fetus. This study investigated links between maternal diet and drinking during pregnancy.

Researchers analyzed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a study of pregnant women from west England and the children born to them. The women (n=9,839) provided information about drinking at 18 weeks gestation and diet at 32 weeks gestation. The researchers examined associations between drinking and dietary patterns in this sample.

There were two key findings: one, eating more processed foods was associated with heavier drinking; and two, healthier dietary choices that included fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish were associated with light to moderate drinking. Study authors suggest that the joint consequences of these behaviors have implications for both maternal and fetal health.

Journal Link: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research