Sensible dieting during pregnancy is believed to be safe

  • Posted

Posted 21/05/2012

The British Medical Journal has looked at findings from 44 previous studies involving 7,000 pregnant women with regard to the effect of dieting during pregnancy and has confirmed that dieting is safe and does not carry risks for the baby. The team who carried out the research said “following a healthy diet – not eating for two – prevents excess weight gain and cuts the risk of complications”.Advice from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published in 2010 says “dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the health of the unborn child”. However, women are advised to aim to reach a healthy weight before conceiving. Half the UK population are either overweight or obese and the rates are rising.In Europe and the US, between 20% and 40% of women gain more than the recommended weight during pregnancy. High weight is linked to complications such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as early delivery.A review by National Institute of Health Research compared diet, exercise or a combination of the two. Dietary advice was based on limiting calorie intake, having a balanced diet and eating the right foods. The women were monitored during the pregnancy for weight gain and complications. Each approach reduced the women’s weight gain, but diet had the greatest effect with an average reduction of nearly 4kg. Exercise showed an average reduction of just 0.7 kg. A combination of the two led to an average reduction of 1 kg. Those following a calorie controlled diet were significantly less likely to develop the complications considered. Babies birth weights were not affected.Julie Crossley, a clinical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal comments: “Obestity in this country is a huge concern and educating people on diet and exercise, even in pregnancy, is important. The cost of treating obesity related illnesses is rising annually and so it is encouraging that this research has been done to prove that there is no excuse to “eat for two”.


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