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Feasibility of conducting an early pregnancy diet and lifestyle e-health intervention: the Pregnancy Lifestyle Activity Nutrition (PLAN) project

  • Rae-Chi Huang (a1), Desiree Silva (a1) (a2), Lawrie Beilin (a3), Cliff Neppe (a4), Katherine E. Mackie (a1), Emma Roffey (a1), Lisa Y. Gibson (a1), Nina D’Vaz (a1), Hayley Christian (a1) (a5), Christopher M. Reid (a6) (a7) and Susan L. Prescott (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Background:

Childhood obesity is a global issue. Excessive weight gain in early pregnancy is independently associated with obesity in the next generation. Given the uptake of e-health, our primary aim was to pilot the feasibility of an e-health intervention, starting in the first trimester, to promote healthy lifestyle and prevent excess weight gain in early pregnancy. Methods: Women were recruited between 8 and 11 weeks gestation and randomised to the intervention or routine antenatal care. The intervention involved an e-health program providing diet, physical activity and well-being advice over 12 weeks.

Results:

Women (n = 57, 43.9% overweight/obese) were recruited at 9.38 ± 1.12 (control) and 9.06 ± 1.29 (intervention) weeks’ gestation, mainly from obstetric private practices (81.2%). Retention was 73.7% for the 12-week intervention, 64.9% at birth and 55.8% at 3 months after birth.

No difference in gestational weight gain or birth size was detected. Overall treatment effect showed a mean increase in score ranking the perceived confidence of dietary change (1.2 ± 0.46, p = 0.009) and score ranking readiness to exercise (1.21 ± 0.51, p = 0.016) over the intervention. At 3 months, infants weighed less in the intervention group (5405 versus 6193 g, p = 0.008) and had a lower ponderal index (25.5 ± 3.0 versus 28.8 ± 4.0 kg/m3) compared with the control group.

Conclusion and Discussion:

A lifestyle intervention starting in the first-trimester pregnancy utilising e-health mode of delivery is feasible. Future studies need strategies to target recruitment of participants of lower socio-economic status and ensure maximal blinding. Larger trials (using technology and focused on early pregnancy) are needed to confirm if decreased infant adiposity is maintained.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Rae-Chi Huang, The ORIGINS Project, Telethon Kids Institute, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia. Email: Rae-Chi.Huang@telethonkids.org.au

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