Exercise in Pregnancy: Effect on Obesity Parameters in Indian Women – A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Background and aims: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of physical activity and diet during prenatal period and its effect on gestational weight gain (GWG), BMI, waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC) and post-partum weight retention (PPWR).

Materials and Methods: This was an experimental study (pre-post comparison) with 45 pregnant women having singleton pregnancy of >16 weeks of gestation, BMI>18.5 Kg/m2 and having a mobile phone. They were randomly divided into 3 groups (n=12 each; compliance rate 80%) (i.e.) exercise (n=12), exercise with diet advise (n=12) and control (n=12) group. Exercise groups attended weekly antenatal exercise sessions at the hospital during pregnancy; diet group received regular diet counseling followed by mobile text-messages (reminder, motivational, guidelines and benefits) to maintain adequate diet. The data was analyzed using IBM-SPSS software.

Results: Exercise groups gained less weight then control. Similarly, had mean GWG less as compared to control group though not statistically significant. The mean WC changes were significant amongst the groups with the exercise groups having least gain in WC (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Adopting an active lifestyle along with proper diet care can prevent development of abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome in Indian pregnant women which could prevent them from other associated lifestyle diseases in future.

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