Nearly fifty Oxfordshire mums-to-be took part in a study at hospitals in Banbury and Oxford and join the fight against obesity.
Researchers at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust worked with the women at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals to discover how to avoid piling on the pounds during pregnancy.
The initiative comes as the National Obesity Forum launches the ‘Do something good for U in JanUary’ campaign, held from January 11-17, and thousands of people in Oxfordshire are starting their annual health kick.
Dr Lucy Mackillop, Local Principal Investigator for the study in Oxford, said: “We are grateful to the women and their midwives for taking part in this study, the results of which will hopefully benefit many women and their babies.
“This is just one of many studies taking place at NHS hospitals and in GP Practices around the UK to help us better understand the causes of obesity, and how best to prevent it.”
The study is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network and the University of Oxford. The Clinical Research Network provided funding for research midwives working on the study in Oxford, and also provides more general support for studies.
The study aims to find out if being weighed in routine appointments and talking with midwives if they gain too much weight helps pregnant women to avoid becoming obese. It is hoped that the results will be published towards the end of 2016.
Alexandra Dabrowska, 30, of Bicester, took part in the study in 2015 in Oxford, and had her baby girl in November.
She said: “I would recommend taking part in research to other people. I found the study very easy to take part in. During my pregnancy, I filled in questionnaires at two of my normal appointments, and answered a couple of texts from the team telling them what my weight was. I hope that the results of this study will help women who struggle with their weight during their pregnancy - it may even help me second time around!”
About half of all women of childbearing age in England are either overweight or obese, according to Government statistics.
Being obese increases our chances of developing a number of health conditions including Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and joint problems.
According to Public Health England, there is growing evidence that mothers who are obese during pregnancy are at greater risk of problems during childbirth, and their babies face more health risks too.
To determine if this would help women, some study participants, randomly picked, were weighed at appointments, and the results discussed if they gained too much weight. Every participant was given the usual antenatal care, and asked to complete brief questionnaires. Basic information about the birth and baby was also recorded for each woman.
To find out more about the clinical research into obesity being supported by the National Institute for Health research, visit www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/bigchallenge