Gestational weight gain in overweight and obese women enrolled in a healthy lifestyle and eating habits program

Author(s): Petrella E, Malavolti M, Bertarini V, Pignatti L, Neri I, et al.


Objectives: To determine whether changes in lifestyle in women with BMI > 25 could decrease gestational weight gain and unfavorable pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: Women with BMI > 25 were randomized at 1st trimester to no intervention or a Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Program including diet (overweight: 1700 kcal/day, obese: 1800 kcal/day) and mild physical activity (30 min/day, 3 times/week). At baseline and at the 36th week women filled-in a Food Frequency Questionnaire.

Outcomes: gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension, preterm delivery. Data stratified by BMI categories.

Results: Socio-demographic features were similar between groups (TLC: 33 cases,

Controls: 28 cases). At term, gestational weight gain in obese women randomized to TLC group was lower (6.7 ± 4.3 kg) versus controls (10.1 ± 5.6 kg, p = 0.047). Gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension and preterm delivery were also significantly lower. TLC was an independent factor in preventing gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension. Significant changes in eating habits occurred in the TLC group, which increased the number of snacks, the intake of fruits-vegetables and decreased the consumption of sugar.

Conclusions: A caloric restriction associated to changes in eating behavior and constant physical activity, is able to reduce gestational weight gain and related pregnancy complications in obese women.

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