Preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy - a controlled trial in primary health care

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jul;61(7):884-91. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602602. Epub 2007 Jan 17.


Objective: To investigate whether individual counselling on diet and physical activity during pregnancy can have positive effects on diet and leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and prevent excessive gestational weight gain.

Design: A controlled trial.

Setting: Six maternity clinics in primary health care in Finland. The clinics were selected into three intervention and three control clinics.

Subjects: Of the 132 pregnant primiparas, recruited by 15 public health nurses (PHN), 105 completed the study.

Interventions: The intervention included individual counselling on diet and LTPA during five routine visits to a PHN until 37 weeks' gestation; the controls received the standard maternity care.

Results: The counselling did not affect the proportion of primiparas exceeding the weight gain recommendations or total LTPA when adjusted for confounders. The adjusted proportion of high-fibre bread of the total weekly amount of bread decreased more in the control group than in the intervention group (difference 11.8%-units, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.6-23.1, P=0.04). The adjusted intake of vegetables, fruit and berries increased by 0.8 portions/day (95% CI 0.3-1.4, P=0.004) and dietary fibre by 3.6 g/day (95% CI 1.0-6.1, P=0.007) more in the intervention group than in the control group. There were no high birth weight babies (>or=4000 g) in the intervention group, but eight (15%) of them in the control group (P=0.006).

Conclusions: The counselling helped pregnant women to maintain the proportion of high-fibre bread and to increase vegetable, fruit and fibre intakes, but was unable to prevent excessive gestational weight gain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Fruit
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Mothers / education
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Vegetables
  • Weight Gain*