Pregnant Women May Now Have A New Way To Limit Unhealthy Weight Gain
Pregnant Women May Now Have A New Way To Limit Unhealthy Weight Gain.
With proper nutritional guidance and technological tools, it is safe and feasible to restrict weight gain in obese pregnant women. In a new study, women who were overweight or obese were assigned to follow a specific diet during pregnancy. The women received guidance from a nutritionist and used a smartphone app to log meals. At the end of the study period, these women had gained less weight than pregnant women in a control group who didn’t follow the diet. A Northwestern Medicine study has found.
Being obese or overweight during pregnancy can result in serious health problems for the mother and child. During pregnancy, weight gain is anticipated and appropriate, but it should be curtailed in overweight and obese women. However, some doctors are reluctant to recommend that pregnant women restrict their weight gain, in part due a lack of tools to help mothers do this safely.
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The study which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, included novel modern approaches. This involved nutritional counseling on a healthy diet, the use of a commercially available smartphone diet app and ongoing coaching via the phone and online in approaching the pregnant participant’s weight-loss.
The obese and overweight women in the study gained five pounds less during their pregnancy than those in the control group and, importantly, their babies were born in the normal weight range. The participants largely followed a DASH-style (Diet Approach to Stopping Hypertension) diet. The women were also encouraged to participate in light exercise.
It’s “very reassuring” that babies born to mothers who restricted their weight gain during pregnancy were not at increased risk for harm, said Dr. Saima Aftab, the medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, who was not involved in the study said in an interview with live science.
However, Aftab stressed that larger studies are needed to examine whether this approach ultimately leads to healthier pregnancies and healthier babies, because the current study wasn’t designed to answer those questions.
Restrict weight gain in pregnancy kids have less risk of developing obesity?
“The next big question is whether the children born to moms who restricted their weight gain will have a reduced risk of becoming obese themselves compared to children whose moms were in the control group,” says Van Horn, a Professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Children born to overweight and obese moms have more than a 50 percent chance of becoming overweight themselves. If both parents are overweight or obese, this risk can increase to more than 70 percent, according to epidemiological data. Babies that are born larger than average may also be at higher risk for obesity in childhood, the Mayo Clinic says.
Knowing that women who are overweight or obese in pregnancy have a greater risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic. That factor can lead to problems with delivery as well as low blood sugar levels in the newborn.
Because of these risks, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recommends that overweight women gain 15 to 25 lbs. (7 to 11 kg) during pregnancy and obese women gain just 11 to 20 lbs. (5 to 9 kg). For comparison, women of healthy weight should gain 25 to 35 lbs. (11 to 16 kg) in pregnancy, the NAM says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of U.S. women gain too much weight in pregnancy.