Organic food consumption during pregnancy and its association with health-related characteristics: the KOALA Birth Cohort Study

Ana Paula Simoes-Wust*, Carolina Molto-Puigmarti, Eugene H. J. M. Jansen, Martien C. J. M. van Dongen, Pieter C. Dagnelie, Carel Thijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: To investigate the associations of organic food consumption with maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, hypertension and diabetes in pregnancy, and several blood biomarkers of pregnant women.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Pregnant women were recruited at midwives' practices and through channels related to consumption of food from organic origin.

Subjects: Pregnant women who filled in FFQ and donated a blood sample (n 1339). Participant groups were defined based on the share of consumed organic products; to discriminate between effects of food origin and food patterns, healthy diet indicators were considered in some statistical models.

Results: Consumption of organic food was associated with a more favourable pre-pregnancy BMI and lower prevalence of gestational diabetes. Compared with participants consuming no organic food (reference group), a marker of dairy products intake (pentadecanoic acid) and trans-fatty acids from natural origin (vaccenic and rumenic acids) were higher among participants consuming organic food (organic groups), whereas elaidic acid, a marker of the intake of trans-fatty acids found in industrially hydrogenated fats, was lower. Plasma levels of homocysteine and 25-hydroxyvitamin D were lower in the organic groups than in the reference group. Differences in pentadecanoic acid, vaccenic acid and vitamin D retained statistical significance when correcting for indicators of the healthy diet pattern associated with the consumption of organic food.

Conclusions: Consumption of organic food during pregnancy is associated with several health-related characteristics and blood biomarkers. Part of the observed associations is explained by food patterns accompanying the consumption of organic food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2145-2156
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Pregnancy and nutrition
  • Body weight regulation
  • Organic food
  • Food and nutrient intake
  • Trans-fatty acids
  • Folate
  • DIET

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