New research shows making improvements to the way of life of women with obesity all through pregnancy could intent long-term cardiovascular benefits for their children.
The study, led by King’s College London and supported by the British Heart Foundation and Tommy’s charity, examined how an antenatal diet and physical activity intervention in pregnant women with obesity could positively influence the health of the women and their children three years after giving birth.
The UPBEAT trial is a randomised controlled trial which aims to enhance the diet and physical activity of obese pregnant women across the United Kingdom. Women who were provided a diet and exercise intervention were in comparison to women in a keep watch over group, who made no changes to their way of life all through pregnancy.
Follow-up examinations three years after birth showed that the children born to the intervention arm of the trial had a lower resting heart rate of -5 bpm than children treated with standard care. A higher resting heart rate in adults is associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular dysfunction.
The study also showed that mothers in the intervention arm maintained a healthier diet three years after birth.
While women reported lower glycaemic load, maternal energy and saturated fatty acids intake, and higher protein intake three years after delivery, there were no differences in self-reported physical activity or in measures of body composition.
Lead writer Kathryn Dalrymple from King’s College London said: “This research shows that an approach to life intervention in pregnant women, which focused on making improvements to diet and increasing physical activity, is associated with improved cardiovascular operate in the child at three years of age and sustained improvement in the mother’s diet, three years after the intervention finished. These findings are very exciting as they add to the evidence that pregnancy is a window of possibility to raise positive health and way of life changes which benefit the mother and her child.”
Senior writer Professor Lucilla Poston, Tommy’s Chair for Maternal and Fetal Health, said: “Obesity in pregnancy is a major problem because it can increase the risk of complications in pregnancy in addition to affecting the longer-term health of the child. This study strengthens my unravel to spotlight just how important it is that we give children a healthy start in life.”
Tommy’s Research and Policy Director, Lizzie D’Angelo, said: “Pregnancy is usually a higher risk for women who are obese but trying to lose plenty of weight while pregnant isn’t advised, so our research makes a speciality of finding new ways to make pregnancy safer for these families. It’s very reassuring to see that our researchers have been ready to enhance mothers’ diets and children’s heart health in the long run, helping to give these babies the most efficient start in life.”
Tracy Parker, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Keeping physically active and maintaining a balanced diet are both important ways of keeping our hearts healthy. This research shows that for pregnant women, the advantages don’t end there. A healthy diet before, all through and after pregnancy can have positive long-term health benefits for both mother and child.”
The team of researchers will follow-up these children again at 8-10 years of age to see whether this improvement in cardiovascular operate is maintained through childhood.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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