The importance of nutrition in reproductive health is widely acknowledged with special emphasis given to periconceptional maternal diet and its implications on embryo-fetal development, pregnancy complications, and the health of the offspring.
Following the PRISMA guidelines, we searched for literature in PubMed, CINAHL, and WoS to gather newer information on how diet composition influences the concepts from the very early stages of pregnancy and how maternal health may be affected as well. Fifty-six studies published up to June 2020 met the inclusion criteria.
With its proportioned and diversified macronutrient composition, the Mediterranean Diet prevents congenital anomalies, preterm birth, hypertensive disorders, and gestational diabetes. Similar dietary patterns rich in vegetables, nuts, fish, and cereals increase the likelihood of conception and have a protective action, mediated by their antioxidant properties, against orofacial clefts, congenital heart and limb defects in the progeny. Conversely, the pro-inflammatory features of western diets, rich in processed foods and low in fruit content, diminish fertility, increase miscarriage rates, and enhance the risk of neural tube defects regardless of folate supplementation.
It may be concluded that within the multiple dietary options, some of them are soundly associated with beneficial effects for the mother and the newborn.