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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A new study just found that a junk food diet even before conception is linked with an increased risk of giving birth prematurely. Dr. Kay Chandler with Cornerstone Clinic for Women shared more on "THV 11 This Morning".

A junk food diet high in fat, sugar and takeaway foods before conceiving a child is linked to a 50 increased risk of giving birth prematurely, a study has found for the first time.

Women were warned that they need to change unhealthy habits before they get pregnant in order to give their child the best start.

Ladies who are planning a pregnancy are told to take folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and to give up or cut down on alcohol.

It is known that a poor diet in pregnancy leads to poorer outcomes for the mother and baby but researchers in Australia have now found that diet before conception plays a part too.

A team at University of Adelaide research found a diet high in sugar, fat and takeaways was linked with a 50 per cent increase risk of giving birth before 37 weeks gestation when compared with a diet high in meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

Diet is an important risk factor that can be modified. It is never too late to make a positive change. We hope our work will help promote a healthy diet before and during pregnancy. This will help to reduce the number of neonatal deaths and improve the overall health of children."

Babies born prematurely are at greater risk of cerebral palsy, breathing difficulties, deafness and blindness, however most of these problems are associated with severely prematurity of less than 30 weeks gestation.

So-called late premature babies, born 32 to 38 weeks gestation are still at risk of needing antibiotics, having breathing problems, suffering low blood sugar and may require admission to intensive care, other studies have found.

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