Wednesday 13 July 2011

Royal College of Midwives supports study to help new mums shed pregnancy pounds


Pregnany lady and tape measure
The study will monitor the weight and body composition of new mums

We already know of the problems that exist, and it's important that research like this helps to find positive ways of dealing with them.
Dr Kirsty Elliott-Sale, Nottingham Trent University

The Royal College of Midwives is welcoming a scientific study to help new mums shed their pregnancy-related pounds with the help of a computer games console. The study by Nottingham Trent University has been launched in response to research by the Netmums website and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), which reveals the extent of the difficulties that new mums face with weight loss.

In November 2010, Netmums and the RCM surveyed over 6,000 new mums which revealed a short-fall in information and support for pregnancy-related weight loss. The survey showed that 67% of respondents were anxious about their weight after birth, and 60% said that they felt pressurised by celebrity culture to lose weight quickly. Many had issues with body confidence, were often reluctant to exercise in public and struggled to find the time for traditional forms of exercise due to new responsibilities with child care.

Now, scientists from Nottingham Trent University's Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Group are working in partnership with Netmums and the RCM to promote new research into the use of interactive computer games at home, to help with the issues that were highlighted in the 2010 survey.

The study will monitor the weight and body composition of new mums participating in the research, before, during and after a 12 week training programme using the Nintendo Wii Fit Board. Measurements of weight, body mass index, waist to hip ratio, waist to height ratio, body shape and dress size will all be recorded, along with a two-part dietary analysis. The participants will be required to keep a food diary for the entire 12 week period, undertake a weighed food intake at three different times, and not undertake any other physical activity outside of the prescribed training programme

In addition to all of the measurements being taken, the participants will also be invited to undergo an integrated Dual X-ray Absorptiometry scan (iDXA) before and after the training programme, using specialist facilities at the University of Derby's Clinical Skills Suite.* The scan will provide detailed information on fat mass, fat-free mass, muscle mass and bone mineral density.

Dr Kirsty Elliott-Sale, from the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, said: "I'm hopeful that this study will provide us with findings that will be of enormous benefit to new mums trying to deal with weight loss after pregnancy. We already know of the problems that exist, and it's important that research like this helps to find positive ways of dealing with them."

Royal College of Midwives' General Secretary Cathy Warwick said: "We welcome this research, especially as it will be presented in a popular format that will be accessible to a broad range of women from all socio-economic backgrounds. There is a real need to address the issue of obesity, and this study indicates this area is particularly important for women. The growing volume of evidence shows that the health of an obese mother is further compromised by pregnancy and it also has an impact on the health of her unborn baby."

She added: "Poorer health for mother and child can also lead to a greater future strain on health services and resources. This is something that also has major effects before and beyond pregnancy and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency for the NHS."

Any new mums who are interested in taking part in the study should contact Dr Elliott-Sale directly by email.

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries please contact Matt Wallace, Press Officer, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8785, or via email or Therese Easom, Press and Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8774, or via email.

The report produced by Netmums and the Royal College of Midwives can be viewed on the Netmums website.

*The GE Healthcare idXA scanner, based within the University of Derby's Clinical Skills Suite, is also used to help health and science students learn skills to help assess patients' health, ready for the workplace. There are only around 15 such scanners in the UK.


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