Mothers who adhered to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy saw significant enhancements in their children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development by age 2, compared to those whose mothers did not follow the diet, as revealed by a recent randomized clinical trial. Dr. Francesca Crovetto, a postdoctoral researcher at the BCNatal Fetal Medicine Research Center in Spain, emphasized the impact of lifestyle interventions on child neurodevelopment, a field that lacked prior comprehensive studies. Dr. Miguel Martínez-González, a professor of preventive medicine and public health in Spain, lauded the Mediterranean diet, calling it the dietary model with the most robust scientific backing and citing its various health benefits, including reducing the risk of diabetes, dementia, and depression.

Additionally, children born to mothers who participated in stress-reduction classes during pregnancy displayed higher levels of social and emotional well-being during toddlerhood compared to children of mothers who did not undergo such training. Dr. David Katz, a specialist in preventive and lifestyle medicine, highlighted the profound physiological effects of stress on the hormonal, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, emphasizing its implications for fetal and neonatal development. The study tracked children born to 1,221 high-risk mothers who participated in a clinical trial spanning from February 2017 to March 2020. This initiative aimed to address the risk of infants being born underweight, a significant contributor to infant mortality. The results showcased the positive impact of the Mediterranean diet and stress-reduction practices on both infant development and birth weights, offering critical insights into optimizing prenatal care.