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Prev Med. 2013 Jun;56(6):351-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.02.021. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

The effects of physical activity and physical activity plus diet interventions on body weight in overweight or obese women who are pregnant or in postpartum: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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University of California at San Francisco, Institute of Health & Aging, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.



To review the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) and PA plus diet interventions in managing weight among overweight or obese (OW/OB) pregnant or postpartum women.


Four databases were searched for randomized controlled studies published between January 2000 and December 2011 that reported weight change outcomes of PA interventions in OW/OB pregnant or postpartum women. PA alone as well as PA plus diet interventions were included.


Of 681 abstracts identified, 11 were included (7 trials with pregnant women and 4 trials with postpartum women). Overall, we found that PA interventions were effective for OW/OB pregnant as well as postpartum women. On average, pregnant women in the intervention groups gained 0.91kg less (95% CI: -1.76, -0.06) compared with those in the usual care groups. Postpartum women in the intervention groups significantly lost more body weight (-1.22kg; 95% CI: -1.89, -0.56) than those in the control groups. In the subgroup analyses by PA intervention types, supervised PA plus diet interventions were the most effective.


PA plus diet interventions may require more than advice; supervised PA programs or personalized prescription/goals are needed to prevent excessive weight gain for OW/OB pregnant women and excessive weight retention for OW/OB postpartum women.

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