Objective: To review the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) and PA plus diet interventions in managing weight among overweight or obese (OW/OB) pregnant or postpartum women.
Methods: Four databases were searched for randomized controlled studies published between January 2000 and December 2011 that reported weight change outcomes of PA interventions in OW/OB pregnant or postpartum women. PA alone as well as PA plus diet interventions were included.
Results: Of 681 abstracts identified, 11 were included (7 trials with pregnant women and 4 trials with postpartum women). Overall, we found that PA interventions were effective for OW/OB pregnant as well as postpartum women. On average, pregnant women in the intervention groups gained 0.91kg less (95% CI: -1.76, -0.06) compared with those in the usual care groups. Postpartum women in the intervention groups significantly lost more body weight (-1.22kg; 95% CI: -1.89, -0.56) than those in the control groups. In the subgroup analyses by PA intervention types, supervised PA plus diet interventions were the most effective.
Conclusions: PA plus diet interventions may require more than advice; supervised PA programs or personalized prescription/goals are needed to prevent excessive weight gain for OW/OB pregnant women and excessive weight retention for OW/OB postpartum women.
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