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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Feb;42(2):265-72. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181b5419a.

Nutrition and exercise prevent excess weight gain in overweight pregnant women.

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  • 1R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation-Exercise & Pregnancy Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.



To determine the effect of a Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) for overweight (OW) and obese (OB) pregnant women on pregnancy weight gain, birth weight, and maternal weight retention at 2 months postpartum.


This is a single-arm intervention matched by prepregnant body mass index, age, and parity to a historical cohort (4:1). Women with a prepregnancy body mass index of > or = 25.0 kg x m(-2) (N = 65) participated in a NELIP starting at 16-20 wk of pregnancy, continuing until delivery. NELIP consisted of an individualized nutrition plan with total energy intake of approximately 2000 kcal x d(-1) (8360 kJ x d(-1)) and 40%-55% of total energy intake from carbohydrate. Exercise consisted of a walking program (30% HR reserve), three to four times per week, using a pedometer to count steps. Matched historical cohort (MC; N = 260) was from a large local perinatal database.


Weight gained by women on the NELIP was 6.8 +/- 4.1 kg (0.38 +/- 0.2 kg x wk(-1)), with a total pregnancy weight gain of 12.0 +/- 5.7 kg. Excessive weight gain occurred before NELIP began at 16 wk of gestation. Eighty percent of the women did not exceed recommended pregnancy weight gain on NELIP. Weight retention at 2 months postpartum was 2.2 +/- 5.6 kg with no difference between the OW and the OB women on NELIP. Mean birth weight was not different between NELIP (3.59 +/- 0.5 kg) and MC (3.56 +/- 0.6 kg, P > 0.05).


NELIP reduces the risk of excessive pregnancy weight gain with minimal weight retention at 2 months postpartum in OW and OB women. This intervention may assist OW and OB women in successful weight control after childbirth.

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