Courtney et al., JHND Early View
High blood pressure (BP) in pregnancy is associated with significant adverse outcomes. In nonpregnant populations, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is associated with reductions in blood pressure. The present study investigated the relationship between the DASH dietary pattern and maternal BP in pregnancy.
This is an observational study of 511 women who participated in the ROLO study (Randomized cOntrol trial of LOw glycaemic index diet for the prevention of recurrence of macrosomia), 2007–2011, Dublin, Ireland. Auscultatory blood pressure, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) measurements were taken. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was calculated. Dietary intakes were recorded using 3‐day food diaries in each trimester. DASH scoring criteria were used to score and rank participants from low to high intakes of foods recommended in the DASH diet. Statistical analysis using analysis of variance and multiple linear regression were used to determine the relationship between maternal BP and DASH scores.
Dietary intake more closely resembling the DASH dietary recommendations throughout pregnancy was associated with a lower DBP (mmHg) in trimesters 1 [B: −0.70; 95% confidence interval (CI) = −1.21 to −0.18] and 3 (B: −0.68; 95% CI = −1.19 to −0.17), as well as lower MAP (mmHg) in trimesters 1 (B: −0.78; 95% CI = −1.33 to −0.25) and 3 (B: −0.54; 95% CI = −1.04 to −0.04), controlling for body mass index, age, education, energy intake and intervention grouping.
The DASH dietary pattern was associated with lower maternal BP in pregnancy among healthy women without hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Despite the observational nature of these findings, the results demonstrate the potential for healthcare professionals to intervene to promote cardiovascular health in pregnancy.