Study finds no link between diet quality in early pregnancy and gestational weight gain


A study of the causes of weight gain in pregnant women in Nepal ruled out poor diet during early pregnancy as one of the main causes, according to a team of researchers at Rutgers School of Health.

Historically, one of the biggest challenges facing pregnant women in Nepal and other low-income countries has been malnutrition as a result of poverty. While it remains a concern, doctors see some of the same problems facing women in the West: excessive weight gain and the associated health risks such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Obstacles to addressing this issue included a lack of data, which is why a pilot study on gestational weight gain in pregnant women in Nepal was prompted by Shristi Rawal, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers College of Health. I was. Kelly Martin, a 2021 Graduate of the Clinical Nutrition Doctoral Program and an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Oneonta. and other faculty members.The findings were recently published in a research journal BMCNutrition.

Rawal, who is from Nepal, said the effects of diet quality have been studied in wealthy countries but not in the context of many low-income countries, including Nepal.

Studies on perinatal complications are based primarily on Caucasian samples from high-income countries, and there is generally a lack of diversity when it comes to women represented in these studies. Pregnancy complications in Nepal was increasing and no one was doing this work. This is the first step. ”


Shristi Rawal, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers College of Health

The study followed 101 pregnant women receiving antenatal care at Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University. Rawal and her colleagues conducted a 21-item questionnaire to measure food intake from groups categorized as healthy (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc.) or unhealthy (desserts, refined grains, lean meats, etc.). The amount was assessed to the participants.

This study examined diet quality in the first trimester and rate of weight gain during pregnancy in the second and third trimesters, but there was no correlation between diet quality in the first trimester and rate of weight gain during pregnancy. No relationship was found between them.That High red meat intake has been found to be a potential factor in weight gain.

“The most surprising result is that so many had high rates of weight gain during pregnancy,” Rawal said. It could be your daily caloric intake, physical activity, or sleep.It could be other diet, lifestyle, or clinical factors.The next step is to get more It’s about collecting data for a larger sample.”

A pilot study has established the need for larger birth cohort studies involving hundreds to thousands of women seeking antenatal care at Dhulikhel Hospital.

An important part of the pilot study was also to evaluate the efficacy of a new dietary screening tool in obtaining valid dietary data in a target population of pregnant women in Nepal.

In a paper published in September maternal and child health journalresearchers concluded that a 21-question dietary screening tool modified for use by pregnant women in Nepal is a valid and reliable means to assess dietary intake in pregnant women in Nepal.

“This adds credibility to the tool, has cultural applicability in the setting, and has been found to measure what it measures,” says Martin, lead author of both papers. This is important for further research on dietary quality in this population.”

Rawal is in the middle of a study testing a mobile app to support women in Nepal with gestational diabetes. Provide information and tools to adopt the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to self-manage their condition.

“By improving pregnancy health, we Not only does it prevent it in the womb as early as possible, but it also breaks the vicious intergenerational cycle of obesity and diabetes,” Rawal said.

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Journal reference:

Martin, K. and others. (2022) Association between diet quality in early pregnancy and rate of weight gain during pregnancy in pregnant women in Dhulikhel, Nepal. BMCNutrition. doi.org/10.1186/s40795-022-00623-7.



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