Dieting during pregnancy is safe for the fetus, according to a review of studies. The British Medical Journal analysis, published this week, looked at findings from 44 earlier studies in which over 7,000 expectant mothers took part. If you are pregnant and wondering if you can diet, it's now safe to say you don't need to be worried about your baby's wellbeing.
NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence), is the British watchdog that often comes out with strange guidelines for pregnant women and fertility treatment. Search our blog if you want to know what weird stuff NICE came with in the past. Meanwhile, it's dieting guideline makes sense to a lot of people. They say: "Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the health of the unborn child."
Fortunately, this new review of studies proves that "eating for two" is not necessary. You should never, of course, starve yourself while pregnant. But not exceeding your recommended daily calories, and limiting weight gain if you were already obese when you got pregnant, is absolutely sensible. Like in America, obesity is an increasing problem in the UK. And around half of the population is either overweight or obese. Logically, that's going to include a fair share of pregnant women. Being overweight during pregnancy is linked to complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
The study review, funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), looked at a combination of exercise and diet to limit pregnancy weight gain. "Dieting" was limiting calories, not eating junk food, and focusing on eating fruit, veg, and whole grains. The babies' weights were not affected for women who dieted during their pregnancies, but the rate of serious and dangerous pregnancy complications like the ones mentioned before did go down significantly. The conclusion? Eat healthy while you're pregnant, and don't feel bad about limiting calories.