Lifestyle Intervention to Prevent Excessive Maternal Weight Gain

Mother and Infant Follow-up at 12 Months Postpartum

Kathrin Rauh; Julia Günther; Julia Kunath; Lynne Stecher; Hans Hauner


BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015;15(265) 

In This Article


Background: Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) is associated with elevated weight retention in mothers and might be related to adiposity of their offspring. Little is known if lifestyle intervention during pregnancy has beneficial effects for mothers and children beyond gestation.

Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled intervention trial was performed with 250 pregnant women in 8 gynaecological practices. Lifestyle intervention was carried out twice with individual counselling sessions on nutrition, physical activity and weight monitoring. Participants in the control group received routine prenatal care and an information leaflet. Follow-up data of women and their offspring were collected one year postpartum (pp) by phone call and/or via e-mail using a structured questionnaire. Maternal weight retention at 12 months pp and weight development of the children in their first year of life was compared between groups using linear regression. The association between energy and macronutrient intake during pregnancy with maternal weight retention and children weight development was also assessed.

Results: The intervention resulted in a trend towards lower mean weight retention 12 months pp (0.2 vs. 0.8 kg), but was not statistically significant (p = 0.321). Among women receiving lifestyle counselling, only 8 % retained more than 5 kg weight while 17 % in the control group retained >5 kg (OR: 0.40 (95 % CI: 0.16, 0.97)). For the whole study cohort, an association between higher GWG and increased 12 month weight retention was found (0.4 kg weight retention per 1 kg increase in GWG, p < 0.001). Weight development of the infants did not differ between groups in the first months after birth. At the 10th –12th month weight measurement, infants born to mothers in the intervention group tended towards lower body weights. Both energy intake and macronutrient composition of the diet during pregnancy did not affect maternal weight retention and weight development of the infants.

Conclusions: Lifestyle counselling during pregnancy to avoid GWG had a rather modest effect on maternal pp weight retention and weight development of the infants. However, larger intervention studies and longer follow-up are required to be able to draw definite conclusions.