Nutritional counseling can help pregnant women control weight gain

Washington: According to a study, with proper nutrition guidance, obese and overweight pregnant women can safely restrict weight gain.

The overweight women in the Northwestern Medicine study gained five pounds (two-and-a-half kilogram approx.) less during their pregnancy than those in the control group. Their babies were born in the normal weight range.

The approach included nutritional counseling on a healthy diet and lifestyle as supported by a commercially available smart phone diet app, with ongoing coaching via the phone and online.

“We need to help these women leverage this unique opportunity during their pregnancy to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle plan that they can follow throughout pregnancy and, hopefully, post-partum,” said lead study author Linda Van Horn. “These results show promise in harnessing modern technology to help a mom achieve those goals.”

The risk of excess gestational weight gain is higher for such women than women of healthy weight. Among the risks for women and their babies: diabetes, preeclampsia, hypertension and birth defects.

The study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.