Obese or overweight women struggled more to control their weight during pregnancy. Exactly two thirds 66.7 percent of obese or overweight women who received the intervention and 61.1 percent of those who did not gained more than the 1990 IOM recommendation (the study took place before the newest guidelines for obese women). That difference between those who received the intervention and those who did not, Wing said, was not statistically significant. But after birth, obese or overweight women did gain a statistically significant benefit from the intervention: 25.6 percent of those in the intervention group returned to their pre-pregnancy weight or below, compared to only 16.7 percent of women who received standard care.
"What might have happened is that obese and overweight women learned skills during the pregnancy that they had difficulty implementing at that time," Wing said. "After the pregnancy they were able to implement these skills more effectively and so got back to their pre-pregnancy weights."
Normal-weight women may have also benefitted medically from the intervention. Women in the intervention group were nearly four times less likely to experience high blood pressure and three times less likely to have preeclampsia, but Wing cautioned that the absolute numbers of women showing symptoms in either group fewer than a dozen was very small, making the results difficult to interpret.
Wing's research group will now look at how the intervention might be tweaked to be more helpful for obese women while they are still pregnant.
Phelan, meanwhile, said she is interested in getting the intervention into the hands of doctors.
"One of the next steps is to implement the intervention as part of standard care," she said. "We de
|Contact: David Orenstein|