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Benefits of repeated individual dietary counselling in long-term weight control in women after delivery



As pregnancy may trigger overweight in women, new means for its prevention are being sought. The aim here was to investigate the effect of individual dietary counselling during and after pregnancy on post-partum weight and waist circumference up to 4 years post-partum. A cohort of women (n = 256) were randomized to receive repeated individual dietary counselling by a nutritionist during and after pregnancy, or as controls not receiving dietary counselling, from the first trimester of pregnancy until 6 months after delivery. Counselling aimed to bring dietary intake into line with recommendations, with particular focus on the increase in the intake of unsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated. Pre-pregnancy weight was taken from welfare clinic records. Weight and waist circumference were measured at 4 years after delivery. The proportion of overweight women increased from 26% prior to pregnancy to 30% at 4 years after delivery among women receiving dietary counselling, as against considerably more, from 32% to 57%, among controls. The prevalence of central adiposity was 31% in women receiving dietary counselling, 64% in controls. Likewise, both the risk of overweight (odds ratio: 0.23, 0.08–0.63, P = 0.005) and central adiposity (odds ratio: 0.18, 0.06–0.52, P = 0.002) were lower in women receiving dietary counselling compared with controls. Repeated dietary counselling initiated in early pregnancy can be beneficial in long-term weight control after delivery.