Can Limiting Weight Gain During Pregnancy Lower Complication Risk in Obese?

Research suggests obesity's effects on a pregnancy may begin before conception
Research suggests obesity's effects on a pregnancy may begin before conception

HealthDay News — Strategies to help overweight or obese women limit their weight gain during pregnancy don't seem to alleviate the risk for obstetric complications, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, The Pregnancy Meeting, held from January 23 to 28 in Las Vegas.

Researchers from Northwestern University randomly assigned 281 pregnant women who were overweight or obese to receive either typical obstetric care, or to receive additional help to limit the amount of weight they gained during pregnancy. This intervention included guidance from a dietitian, guidance on physical activity, and internet-based self-monitoring of eating habits. 

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According to the researchers, the intervention did work in one respect: The women gained much less weight during their pregnancy than the women who underwent routine care. However, this additional care was not linked to a drop in pregnancy-related complications, such as gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, and large-for-gestational-age infants. There was also a higher rate of cesarean sections among the women in the intervention group.

"While pregnant women should still be counseled against excess weight gain, additional measures may be required to reduce the associated complications," lead author Alan Peaceman, MD, chief of maternal-fetal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, said in a meeting news release.

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