Healthy Lifestyle Demonstrates Gains in Pregnancy

Healthy lifestyle factors safe, associated with lower risk of excess gestational weight

WEDNESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have a healthy diet and engage in physical activity are less likely than their counterparts with less healthy lifestyles to undergo excessive gestational weight gain, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Alison M. Stuebe, M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,388 pregnant women, of whom 379 (27 percent) were overweight and 703 (51 percent) gained an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy.

The researchers found a direct association between total calorie intake, consumption of dairy or fried foods and excessive gestational weight gain, while there was an inverse association with eating a vegetarian diet during the first trimester of pregnancy, mid-pregnancy walking, and vigorous physical activity.

"Most women can safely engage in physical activity during pregnancy, and current guidelines for uncomplicated pregnancies recommend 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Nevertheless, most women reduce their physical activity during pregnancy. Encouraging women to continue or increase their activity during pregnancy may reduce their risk of excessive gestational weight gain," the authors write. "Future intervention studies should target these behaviors to see whether beneficial changes influence weight gains and, in turn, improve maternal and child health outcomes."

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