Background: Regular physical activity and exercises play an important role in a healthy pregnancy in overweight and obese women.
Objective: To investigate the effect of exercise parameters (frequency, duration and intensity) and Physical Activity (PA) on maternal Gestational Weight Gain (GWG) in overweight and obese pregnant women.
Methods: PubMed and Cochrane database were used to locate the literature; randomized controlled trials comparing PA with standard care on combined overweight and obese pregnant women, published in English language from January 2011 to March 2020 were selected. PA interventions, including walking, aerobic and resistance exercise either alone or in combination compared with standard care during pregnancy in overweight and obese pregnant women were screened. Mean Difference (MD) with 95% Confidence Interval (CI) between the intervention and standard care for GWG was calculated.
Results: Twelve studies with 1667 pregnant women were included. The result showed a statistically significant reduction of GWG in the PA group as compared to the standard care (MD=0.99 kg, P<0.00001 & I2 =25%). Overweight and obese pregnant women who performed exercises for the duration of 45-60 minutes/session (MD=1.01 kg, P=0.0008 and I2 =61%), a frequency of 3 times/week (MD=1.19 kg, P=0.0002 and I2 =58%) and light to moderate intensity (MD=1.37 kg, P<0.0001 & I2 =62%), reported good weight control during pregnancy as compared with standard care group.
Conclusion: There was a statistically significant reduction in GWG in overweight and obese pregnant women. Owing to the promising results shown by exercise intervention and PA in maternal weight control, these interventions should be used as a tool for managing weight gain during pregnancy as routine care.
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