Vegetarian Diets & Maternal Health

Record #62 on
4 minute read

Zhelnov P. A critical appraisal of ‘Baroni L, Rizzo G, Goggi S, Giampieri F, Battino M. Vegetarian diets during pregnancy: effects on the mother’s health. A systematic review. Food Funct. 2020 Dec 11. doi: 10.1039/d0fo01991g. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33306085’. Zheln. 2020 Dec 16;51(1):r62d12. URI:

Zheln Review Appraisal in 10 Steps:

  1. ✅ Downloaded from the PubMed Systematic Subset Daily Updates
  2. ✅ Meets Shojania & Bero 2001 True Positive Criteria for Systematic Reviews by Abstract
  3. ✅ Full Text Collected by Zheln
  4. ✅ Generates Pragmatic Evidence Directly Relevant to Evidence-Based Practice
  5. ❌ Is Duplicate
  6. 🔄 Passed or Failed Replication?
  7. 🔄 Has Critical Conduct Flaws?
  8. 🔄 Liked or Disliked by Zheln?
  9. 🔄 Practical Implications Summarized by Zheln
  10. 🔄 Appraisal Published & Call for Crowdfunding

Executive Summary

Vegetarian mothers. Some claim such diets are bad for their health, others claim otherwise. So when I saw a recent review by Baroni and coauthors, I took it for a critical appraisal. I thought it would be of help, as it did feature practice-relevant maternal outcomes, such as the rate of pregnancy weight gain, mental problems, complications, or gestational diabetes.

However, during the appraisal, I found multiple previous reviews on the same topic, but Baroni and coauthors did not seem to fully take these into account. In other words, their review turned out to be duplicate, at least in part, and, therefore, is not a good candidate to start examining the problem with.

If you still want me to go on with it and report on vegetarian diets in pregnancy, crowdfunding an appraisal is an option at

Generates Pragmatic Evidence Directly Relevant to Evidence-Based Practice?

CDC lists the following maternal outcomes:

  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Diabetes During Pregnancy
  • Weight Gain During Pregnancy
  • Substance Use During Pregnancy
  • Depression Among Women
  • Maternal Mortality

The review does address some of these outcomes, so yes, it should in theory generate practice-important evidence.

Is Duplicate?

Google: “systematic review” vegetarian mother OR maternal

  • Tan 2019 – both infant and maternal outcomes; vegetarian during pregnancy only, whereas Baroni et al. feature the breastfeeding period too. Referenced by Baroni et al. but cursorily only; no statement is given as to how the review is importantly different to Tan 2019.
  • Piccoli 2015 – both infant and maternal outcomes; during pregnancy only; not only vegetarian but also vegan. Not referenced by Baroni et al.
  • Oussalah 2020 – any health outcomes. Not referenced by Baroni et al. It’s quite recent (epub Mar 2020) but could be identified by the authors.
  • etc.

Overall, I feel this review is at least partly duplicate; no due attention is paid in regard to previous studies on the topic. Therefore, this review is not a good place to start examining the topic, so will not appraise further.

I have already started appraisal of this article and have found there is evidence that this study is duplicate research. Therefore, assessing comprehensively the problem in question will not be limited to assessing this study only and will take considerable time and effort. I will complete the appraisal as soon as I’m able to. Please return sometime later or follow the progress of this page here or on GitHub as I do the appraisal. Also, you can look for similar systematic review appraisals using search or by tapping on AMA specialty tags at the bottom of this page or in the side menu.

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Appraisal in progress