'Eating for two' when pregnant a myth, new study shows
THE common belief that pregnant women can eat for two has been scotched by research suggesting dieting during pregnancy can be beneficial.
Experts found that weight management was not only safe, but could also reduce complications for pregnant women.
The risk of pre-eclampsia -- which causes high blood pressure -- diabetes and premature birth can all be reduced if the mother-to-be sticks to a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, the study published on bmj.com found.
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy was linked to a number of serious health problems.
In the UK, more than half of women of reproductive age are said to be overweight or obese, and across Europe and the US up to 40pc of women gain more than the recommended weight in pregnancy.
But the team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London, who carried out the study found weight management interventions in pregnancy were effective.
Dietary intervention resulted in the largest average reduction in weight gain (almost 4kg) compared with 0.7kg for exercise.
But experts at St Thomas' Hospital in London said that it would be "premature" for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to reassess its guidelines.
The researchers analysed the results of 44 randomised controlled trials involving more than 7,000 women.