Exercise and Pregnancy LabWestern Health Sciences

Research Projects

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The R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation Exercise and Pregnancy Lab at Western University is the only research lab in North America actively investigating metabolic changes in exercising pregnant and postpartum women. Outlined below are some of the current and past research projects that have helped the lab become a world leader in the generation of knowledge in this area.

Current Research Projects

Strategizing the best approach to prevent early excessive gestational weight gain using a Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP)

Timeline: 2017 -

Summary: The purpose of this study is to investigate three strategies to achieve healthy weight gain. The study will start between 12-18 weeks of pregnancy and continue until 12 months after your baby is born. 

Link: Clinical Trials.gov

Collaborating Institution: Iowa State University

Bringing NELIP for Obese Pregnant Women into Clinical Practice

NELIP: Nutrition and Exercise Lifestsyle Intervention Program

Timeline: 2012-2015

Summary: What is NELIP? The Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program is a nutrition and walking program developed to:

  • Prevent excessive weight gain
  • Help regulate the mother’s blood sugar
  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes

We hypothesize that the evidence-based NELIP for pregnant women will be feasible to adopt in a clinical setting and will prevent excess gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes and promote healthy infant growth patterns at 6 and 12 months postpartum. 

Funded by: Children's Health Research Institute

Past Research Projects

Be Healthy in Pregnancy (B-HIP)

Timeline: Completed 2016

Summary: The purpose of this study is to investigate two strategies to achieve healthy weight gain. The study will start between 12-17 weeks of pregnancy and continue until six months after your baby is born. We also hope to improve health measures in mothers and infants at six months post-partum. 

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Collaborating Institution: McMaster University

NELIP for Women with Gestational Diabetes

A Nutrition & Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) for women with gestational diabetes

Timeline: Completed 2012

Summary: The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is as high as 18% in certain populations with over 60% requiring insulin. The primary treatment in the conventional management of gestational diabetes is nutrition therapy, however, physical activity is also encouraged. We used accelerometers to quantify physical activity in pregnant women with GDM and as a result, have developed exercise guidelines to help delay or prevent insulin injections.

Publications:

Funding Partners: Lawson Research Foundation

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Starting in Pregnancy and the First Year Postpartum

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Early intervention during pregnancy and first year postpartum for overweight and obese women using a two-pronged family-based Nutrition & Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP).

Timeline: 2010-2014

Summary: Our longitudinal aim was to reduce obesity, chronic disease and cardiovascular risks in overweight and obese women and their families. The approach of this study included healthy food choices and increased physical actiivity. This was initiated during pregnancy and re-instated in the early period after delivery for overweight and obese women.

Clinical Trial: Preventing Childhood Obesity: A Two-pronged Approach Starting in Pregnancy and the First Year Postpartum

Funding Partners: Canada Institutes of Health Research and Health Research Foundation

Capacity-building and Participatory Research Development of a Community-based NELIP

Capacity-building and participatory research development of a community-based Nutrition & Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) for pregnant and post-partum Aboriginal women.

Summary: We have developed a successful intervention tool called the Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) that prevents excessive gain weight and weight retention, and regulates blood sugar concentrations during pregnancy. The information gathered in this study is the first step in determining strategies to develop community-based NELIP for pregnant Aboriginal women.

Publication: Mottola, MF, Sopper, MM, Doxtator, L, Big-Canoe, K, Prapavessis, H, Harris, S, Hanley, A (2011). Capacity-building and Participatory Research Development of a Community-based Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) for Pregnant and Postpartum Aboriginal Women:Information Gathered from Talking Circles. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 2(1). 

Funding Partners: Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health (IAPH)