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Diet and exercise are the 2 pillars of health pregnancy finds recent review

Posted:  Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pregnant women may shrug off their inhibitions about weight gain knowing that it is a part of the biological process. But does that justify excess weight gain? Numerous researchers echo a strong NO! A recent review found that dietary changes and moderate exercises during pregnancy may prevent excessive weight gain thus benefiting both mother and child.

The review evaluated over 37 new studies spanning 11,444 women which provided diet or exercise intervention or both to pregnant women. The dietary interventions included low sugar diets, whereas moderate intensity exercise such as walking, aerobics, Pilates and dance made up the physical activity element. The observations of the review were published in The Cochrane Library.

The researchers found that women who took part in the interventions were better off on 3 counts in comparison to women who did not take part in the interventions.

- They were less likely to have high blood pressure.

- They were also slightly less likely to have a Caesarean delivery (27% vs. 29%).

- They had reduced chances of having a large baby, defined as a baby weighing more than 4 kg (8.8 lbs).

This valuable evidence will be incorporated in a new World Health Organization (WHO) guideline on antenatal care which is currently under development. In conclusion, the researchers said, “Pregnancy is a time when women have a lot of contact with health care providers, therefore there is no better time to engage and support women to make healthy lifestyle choices. We hope that these findings will encourage women not to overeat and to exercise regularly with the knowledge that their efforts will be rewarded with lower pregnancy weight gain and better health outcomes for themselves and their baby."

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