Dieting and Physical Activity During Pregnancy Linked To Lower C-Section Rate

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shakila Thangaratinam Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health Joint Director of BARC (Barts Research Centre for Women's Health) Women's Health Research Unit | Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH) Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry  R & D Director for Women's Health Queen Mary University of London 

Prof. Thangaratinam

Shakila Thangaratinam
Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health
Joint Director of BARC
(Barts Research Centre for Women’s Health)
Women’s Health Research Unit | Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH)
Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
R & D Director for Women’s Health
Queen Mary University of London 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Pregnant women who are overweight or obese, or who gain excess weight gain in pregnancy are at high risk of complications. We wanted to find

  1. If healthy diet and physical activity in pregnancy reduced weight gain, and improved outcomes for the mother and baby
  2. If the effects of the interventions differed according to the characteristics of the mother such as body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition

We established a network (International Weight Management in Pregnancy i-WIP) of researchers from 16 countries, and 41 institutions to answer the above.

We found that women who followed a healthy diet and moderate physical activity gained less weight in pregnancy than other women; this beneficial effect was observed irrespective of mother’s body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition.

Diet and physical activity in pregnancy has a beneficial effect on weight gain in pregnancy, and lowers the odds of caesarean section, and gestational diabetes.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The benefits of a healthy diet and physical activity in reducing weight gain in pregnancy can be experienced by all mothers, and not specific groups of mothers.

Dieting and moderate physical activity in pregnancy help to reduce caesarean sections and diabetes in pregnancy, without having any adverse effect on the baby.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There is a need to identify whether the effects of the intervention vary with specific components of diet and physical activity, and with the level of intensity, frequency and duration of intervention. There is also a need to assess the long term outcomes of children born to these mothers.  

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