Lifestyle changes ‘may benefit obese pregnant women’

24 June 2014

Obese women who stick to a diet and exercise programme in their first trimester of pregnancy gain less weight while carrying their child and have fewer complications compared to those not following a similar plan, suggests new research from Capital Medical University, Beijing.

Being overweight while pregnant can lead to many complications, including gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. It also increases the risk of giving birth to a child who is overly large or who has macrosomia, a birth weight exceeding eight pounds and 13 ounces (4kg). 

To conduct the study, 213 women who were six to 12 weeks pregnant were either assigned to a strict diet and exercise programme or received standard care.

According to Dr Guanghui Li, lead investigator, the participants that adhered to the rigid programme experienced significantly higher benefits than those receiving standard care. Over the course of the study they gained 24lbs on average, compared to 31lbs in the control group. 

In addition, not a single participant who adhered to the diet and exercise regime developed pre-eclampsia versus 2.7 per cent of those receiving standard care.

Dr Li said: "Obese pregnant women should start an intensive intervention involving dietary and lifestyle modifications as early as possible in pregnancy.”

Posted by Edward Bartel

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