Be healthy in pregnancy (BHIP) with nutrition & exercise

Excess weight gain in pregnancy is a major problem affecting 55-75% of Canadian women who enter pregnancy overweight or obese and about 40% of women who are normal weight. Excess weight gain puts mothers at risk for health problems such as diabetes and developing or sustaining obesity after pregnancy, and puts their babies at risk of being born too large or developing related health problems. Mothers will be randomized to a structured high dairy protein diet and walking program or the usual care by their care provider. The investigators research questions are: Will a structured nutrition and exercise program in pregnancy compared to usual prenatal care increase the chance that mothers will achieve pregnancy weight gain within the current recommendations; improve health measures, in mother and infant at six months post-partum; to evaluate the benefits of a high dairy intake in pregnancy on maintenance of bone status in the mother and bone health outcomes in the child in early life (6 months); and to investigate the interactions between genes associated with bone health and high dairy diet supplementation on bone status in mothers during pregnancy, and bone health in mothers post-delivery and children to 6 months of age. Mothers’ weight, physical activity and adherence to the nutrition plan will be assessed until birth and at follow-up with their infants at 6 months after birth. The research team will ensure new information is quickly transferred to programs to assist women to have healthier pregnancies.

This study is sponsored by Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Dr. Stephanie Atkinson is the principal investigator and Dr. Feng Xie is a co-investigator and leading the economic evaluation.