CitationNulty, Alison K.; Bovbjerg, Marit L.; Herring, Amy H.; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; Thorp, John M., Jr.; & Evenson, Kelly R. (Online ahead of print). Meal Patterning and the Onset of Spontaneous Labor. Birth.
AbstractBACKGROUND: There is a lack of consensus in the literature about the association between meal patterning during pregnancy and birth outcomes. This study examined whether maternal meal patterning in the week before birth was associated with an increased likelihood of imminent spontaneous labor.
METHODS: Data came from 607 participants in the third phase of the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study (PIN3). Data were collected through an interviewer-administered questionnaire after birth, before hospital discharge. Questions included the typical number of meals and snacks consumed daily, during both the week before labor onset and the 24-hour period before labor onset. A self-matched, case-crossover study design examined the association between skipping one or more meals and the likelihood of spontaneous labor onset within the subsequent 24 hours.
RESULTS: Among women who experienced spontaneous labor, 87.0% reported routinely eating three daily meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the week before their labor began, but only 71.2% reported eating three meals during the 24-hour period before their labor began. Compared with the week before their labor, the odds of imminent spontaneous labor were 5.43 times as high (95% CI: 3.41-8.65) within 24 hours of skipping 1 or more meals. The association between skipping 1 or more meals and the onset of spontaneous labor remained elevated for both pregnant individuals who birthed early (37-<39 weeks) and full-term (≥39 weeks).
CONCLUSIONS: Skipping meals later in pregnancy was associated with an increased likelihood of imminent spontaneous labor, though we are unable to rule out reverse causality.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Year PublishedOnline ahead of print
Author(s)Nulty, Alison K.
Bovbjerg, Marit L.
Herring, Amy H.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Thorp, John M., Jr.
Evenson, Kelly R.
Data Set/StudyPregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study (PIN3)
Continent/CountryUnited States of America
ORCiDThorp - 0000-0002-9307-6690
Nulty - 0000-0002-5191-1336