FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Excessive weight gain during pregnancy has long been tied to a higher risk for obstetric complications.
However, a new study finds that strategies to help women limit their weight gain during pregnancy don’t seem to alleviate these complications. The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, in Las Vegas.
“While pregnant women should still be counseled against excess weight gain, additional measures may be required to reduce the associated complications,” study lead author Dr. Alan Peaceman said in an SMFM news release. He’s chief of maternal-fetal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
According to guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), normal-weight women who are bearing one child (not twins) should gain 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy. Women who are already overweight before pregnancy should gain between 15 and 25 pounds during the pregnancy, and women who are obese before pregnancy should gain 11 to 20 pounds.
Weight gain beyond those recommended amounts is thought to be unhealthy for both the mother and the fetus.
In the new study, Peaceman’s team sought to determine if efforts to curb excess weight gain in pregnancy might help lower obstetric complications.
For the study, 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.
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.
There was also a higher rate of C-sections among the women in the intervention group, the study showed.