ENRICH is a group of fifteen investigators, plus students and staff that came together under a research program funded for five years by Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions (AIHS). ENRICH studies are aimed at improving maternal health in pregnancy and postpartum by finding innovative ways to promote healthy weights and healthy eating.
Maternal body weight during pregnancy is used as an indicator of health, both for the mother and for her developing fetus. The risks of poor maternal and fetal health outcomes increase when women gain either too little or too much weight during pregnancy. While gaining too little weight is associated with low birth weight and preterm birth, excessive weight gain in pregnancy contributes to increased rates of maternal and perinatal complications, illness, and sometimes even death.
Excess weight gain and poor diet quality in pregnancy, followed by less-than-recommended postpartum weight loss, makes pregnancy a major risk factor for obesity and chronic diseases (such as diabetes and certain cancers in women) later on in life. Strategies that promote appropriate, effective, and safe weight management for pregnant and postpartum women are clearly needed. Successful strategies must be suitable for diverse populations, as well as the physical and social environments that shape women's choices during pregnancy and postpartum.
ENRICH is currently conducting twelve different studies, organized under four different themes.