Diet Control During Pregnancy Reduces Risks for Complications
New research from Queen Mary, University of London, analyzed the results of 44 different studies that investigated the effects of diet, exercise and a combination of both on the risks of maternal and fetal complications in obese or overweight pregnant women.
Excess weight during pregnancy is associated with many complications like pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), diabetes, early (premature) delivery, miscarriage, birth defects, and maternal and/or fetal death.
The researchers investigated the effects of diet, exercise, or a combination of the two on the outcome of pregnancy of more than 7,000 obese or overweight women. They observed how much weight women gained throughout pregnancy and whether the mothers or babies suffered from any complications.
The results showed that although all three methods helped to reduce the mothers’ weight gain, controlling calorie intake through diet had the greatest effect, with an average reduction of about four kilograms. Exercise alone resulted in an average reduction in weight gain of just 0.7kg while combining diet and exercise produced an average decrease of one kilogram.
As for complications, the researchers found that women who followed a calorie restricted diet were less likely to develop pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and early delivery. Pre-eclampsia is one of the most dangerous pregnancy complications where the mother has an increased blood pressure and protein in the urine. The babies’ birth weights were not affected by dieting.
The authors believe that although weight control may be difficult during pregnancy, this study shows that by carefully advising women on diet, weight gain can be reduced and complications can be avoided.
Queen Mary, University of London (2012, May 18). Weight in pregnancy best controlled by diet, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2012.