FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy eating and low or moderate levels of exercise during pregnancy can help a woman avoid excessive weight gain and may reduce her infant's risk of being overweight or obese later in life, new research indicates.
The study included 49 women at 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy who were assigned to either a low- or moderate-intensity walking program. Both groups also followed a meal plan based on guidelines given to expectant mothers with gestational diabetes.
The women were compared with another group of pregnant women who were not assigned to any exercise or diet programs (the "control" group).
All the women in the study were deemed to have a normal, healthy weight before their pregnancy, the researchers noted in the report, which was published in the August issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Compared to the women in the control group, those in the two exercise/healthy-eating groups gained less weight during pregnancy and were less likely to gain excessive weight, the investigators found. Within two months of delivery, 28 percent of women in the moderate-intensity exercise program were within about 4.4 pounds of their pre-pregnancy weight, compared with 7 percent of those in the control group.
Babies born to women in all the groups had similar birth weights, which suggests that preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy does not influence infant birth weight, the study authors noted in a news release from the American College of Sports Medicine.
The researchers pointed out, however, that pregnancy is an important period in determining a child's health later in life and preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy may reduce a child's long-term risk for obesity.
"Women benefit greatly from being active throughout their pregnancies and physical activity is strongly recommended by professional organizations," lead au
All rights reserved