A healthy diet and workout are linked with good health even without a pregnancy. But the new study, conducted by the Kings’ College (London), funded by the British Heart Foundation as well as Tommy’s charity presents the additional benefits of these two during pregnancy.
Antenatal diet and moderate physical activity are vital during pregnancy as they prevent maternal obesity and ensure healthy babies. These results were obtained from the UPBEAT trials from participants all over the UK.
All the participants were pregnant women who were provided with a specific type of healthy diet and workout regime. Their health outcomes were compared to other participants in a control group. This control group made absolutely no changes in their diet or exercise during this pregnancy.
The follow-up trial after three years of delivery revealed that babies born to the experimental group were healthier, active, and at low risk of certain diseases than children of control group mothers.
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In particular, the resting heart rate of these healthy children was observed to be relatively lower. If this rate is higher, it is a typical precursor of hypertension as well as heart diseases.
The results also revealed that mothers who followed a healthy diet and workout during pregnancy were able to maintain their health and weight even after three years of delivery.
Kathryn Dalrymple is the principal investigator and first author of this study. According to her, this study presents a healthy diet and workout more of a lifestyle change for pregnant women. Instead of considering it as a ‘standard rule’, they should make it a part of their life. If completely followed, these things will ensure better health of the mother as well as the child even after years of delivery.
This study presents that pregnancy is not just the reproductive phase of a woman’s life. It determines her health of the coming years and just by following simple steps she can make sure there are no threats and risks in the coming years.
Lucilla Poston is the chairperson for Maternal and Fetal Health at Tommy’s. She says that obesity during the pregnancy is often ignored but it is one of the leading causes for long term dangers to the mother and the newborn child’s health. This study has only highlighted that managing obesity during pregnancy is not as difficult as it may sound.
Lizzie D’Angelo the director of Research and Policy at Tommy’s calls pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the women who are already obese. However, it is possible to change it and lose weight even during pregnancy, without doing any shortcut or following any fad diet.
The researchers are trying to find new ways to help obese women during pregnancy. The results of this particular study are very reassuring and they suggest that taking care of the diet and physical activity during pregnancy can significantly improve the mother and the child’s health.
The research team plans to perform another follow-up study on these participants and their children after 10 years. Their purpose is to check if they are subjected to any health-related threat and how the cardiovascular system is keeping up as these children are growing up.