This study aimed to summarize the evidence regarding the effects of dietary intake before conception on pregnancy outcomes by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Electronic databases were searched from inception up to August 2021. Overall, 65 studies involving 831 798 participants were included and 38 studies were quantitatively pooled. With regard to maternal outcomes, pre-pregnancy intake of fried food, fast food, red and processed meat, heme iron and a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern was positively associated with the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) (all P < 0.05). However, a high dietary fiber intake and folic acid supplementation were negatively associated with GDM risk (both P < 0.05). With regard to neonatal outcomes, maternal caffeine intake before pregnancy significantly increased the risk of spontaneous abortion, while folic acid supplementation had protective effects on total adverse neonatal outcomes, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational age (SGA, all P < 0.05). However, no significant associations were found between adverse pregnancy outcomes (i.e., GDM and SGA) and the pre-pregnancy dietary intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, potato, fish, and carbohydrates and the Healthy Eating Index. Our study suggests that maintaining a healthy diet before conception has significant beneficial effects on pregnancy outcomes.