Low fibre intake during pregnancy may delay development in baby's brains, according to a research.

Certain nutrients -- including dietary fibre, vitamin C, and folic acid --  are often consumed in too small amounts. Previous research has shown that during pregnancy these nutrients are essential for the development of offspring.  

The new study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, found that neurodevelopmental delays correlated with the amount of dietary fibre expectant mothers did -- or did not -- consume during pregnancy. 

It showed that maternal dietary fibre insufficiency affected several domains related to children's brain function, including skills like communication, problem solving, and personal-social. 

"Most pregnant women consume far less dietary fibre than what is the recommended intake," said Dr Kunio Miyake, a researcher at the University of Yamanashi and first author of the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition. 

"Our results provided reinforcing evidence that undernutrition during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental delay in children."

In the study, the team analysed more than 76,000 mother-infant pairs in Japan and compared the development of children whose mothers had the highest intake of dietary fibre to groups of mothers who consumed successively less fibre during pregnancy.

They found that the effect of maternal fibre undersupply was noticeable in several domains related to brain function. The researchers also found delays in the development of large body part movement and coordination, as well as in the coordination of smaller muscles.

"Our results show that nutritional guidance for pregnant mothers is crucial to reduce the risk of future health problems for their children," said Miyake.

The researchers also pointed to certain limitations of their study.

"Human studies cannot assess the effects of dietary fibre alone. Although this study considered the impact of folic acid intake during pregnancy, the possibility of other nutrients having an impact cannot be completely ruled out," Miyake pointed out.

"In addition, dietary fibre intake from supplements could not be investigated."