Mothers who followed the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy witnessed significant improvements in their children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development by age 2, according to a recent clinical trial. Dr. Francesca Crovetto, a postdoctoral researcher at the BCNatal Fetal Medicine Research Center in Spain, stressed the importance of lifestyle interventions in child neurodevelopment, an area that had previously lacked comprehensive studies. Dr. Miguel Martínez-González, a professor of preventive medicine and public health in Spain, praised the Mediterranean diet, calling it the dietary model with the most robust scientific support and citing its various health benefits, including reducing the risk of diabetes, dementia, and depression.

Moreover, children born to mothers who took part 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 significant physiological effects of stress on the hormonal, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, emphasizing its implications for fetal and neonatal development. The study followed children born to 1,221 high-risk mothers who participated in a clinical trial from February 2017 to March 2020. This initiative aimed to mitigate the risk of infants being born underweight, a significant contributor to infant mortality. The results illustrated the positive influence of the Mediterranean diet and stress-reduction practices on both infant development and birth weights, providing crucial insights into enhancing prenatal care.