Weight management in pregnancy with diet is beneficial and safe, can reduce complications

May 17, 2012

For pregnant women, including those who are overweight and obese, following a healthy calorie controlled diet during pregnancy is safe and can reduce the risk of serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes and premature birth, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal today.

In the UK, more than half the women of reproductive age are overweight or obese, and across Europe and the US, up to 40% of women gain more than the recommended weight in pregnancy. during pregnancy is associated with a number of serious health problems.

Pregnancy is thought to be an ideal time for health professionals to discuss weight management as mothers are motivated to make changes that will benefit themselves and their baby.

So a team of researchers, led by Dr Shakila Thangaratinam from Queen Mary, University of London, investigated the effects of diet, exercise, or a combination of the two on weight gain during pregnancy and any adverse effects on mother or baby.

They analysed the results of 44 involving over 7,000 women. Study design and quality were taken into account to minimise bias.

Weight management interventions in pregnancy were effective in reducing weight gain in the mother. resulted in the largest average reduction in weight gain (almost 4 kg) compared with just 0.7 kg for exercise and 1 kg for a combination of the two. Diet also offered the most benefit in preventing such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and premature birth.

However, the authors stress that the overall evidence rating was low to very low for these important outcomes.

Importantly, the results showed that interventions are safe and do not adversely affect the baby's weight. The authors conclude that dietary and in pregnancy improve outcomes for both mother and baby, but acknowledge the lack of data on risk factors such as age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

However, in an accompanying editorial, experts at St Thomas' Hospital in London say there is not yet sufficient evidence to support any particular intervention.

Lucilla Poston and Lucy Chappell suggest that although this study is "timely and welcome", it does not provide the evidence needed for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to reassess the guidelines for weight management in pregnancy. They point to several ongoing trials that will enable a greater understanding of effective interventions in overweight and obese women

Explore further: Mothers' weight before and during pregnancy affects baby's weight

Related Stories

Mothers' weight before and during pregnancy affects baby's weight

December 13, 2011
A new study published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (AOGS) reveals that both pre-pregnant weight (body mass index, BMI) and weight gain in pregnancy are important predictors of babies' birthweight. ...

High pregnancy weight gain can lead to long-term obesity

May 18, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Gaining more than the recommended weight during pregnancy can put women at increased risk of becoming obese and developing related health problems, including high blood pressure, later in life.

Excessive pregnancy weight gain raises the risk of having a fat baby

June 7, 2011
Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to have newborns with a high amount of body fat, regardless of the mother's weight before pregnancy, a new study finds. The results will be presented Tuesday at The Endocrine ...

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.