One-on-one lifestyle advice for overweight pregnant women is cost-effective and highly beneficial to mothers and their babies, research has shown.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute – led by professor Jodie Dodd – conducted an economic evaluation along with a randomised trial involving expectant mothers who were overweight or obese. The group took part in an interventional antenatal program featuring lifestyle, exercise and dietary advice, as well as monitoring of weight and BMI.
The results showed improved health outcomes, over a control group, for both mothers and babies, including lower frequency of respiratory distress syndrome for babies, healthier birth weights and shorter hospital stays for mothers.
Dodd and her team also found the reduced healthcare charges for both mothers and babies made up for the cost of the intervention.
“Poor outcomes at birth are associated with significant additional healthcare costs, both for women and their babies," Dodd said. "We wanted to know whether or not the lifestyle advice we provided to women was cost-effective, as well as helping to impact on clinical outcomes."
Previous research has indicated that about 50 per cent of women are overweight or obese during pregnancy, leading to increased concern about the impact on babies’ health.
The research was recently published in the journal BMC Obesity.
Listen below to hear from study co-author Andrea Deussen, clinical trials manager, discipline of obstetrics and gynaecology at The University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute.Do you have an idea for a story?
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