A new study shows how far-reaching the effects of excessive pregnancy weight gain can be. Women who gain too much weight during their pregnancy could produce large babies and large babies are at risk of becoming obese later.
Effect of excessive pregnancy weight gain
Women can optimize their pregnancy outcomes by preventing too much weight gain, say researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute. This study clarifies that obesity doesn’t only have a genetic component, the intergenerational cycle of weight gain is also responsible.
According to researcher Zach Ferraro, “obesity begets obesity”; that maternal weight impacts baby’s propensity for obesity. So, gestational weight gain impacts more than just those nine months. It has much longer lasting consequences.
The new finding in this study is that it is more than just a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight that counts. No matter what a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight, her weight gain during pregnancy should correspond to that.
So if a woman is already overweight when she gets pregnant, she has to gain less weight than if she were of a normal weight. Gaining more weight puts the baby at risk of weight gain. This is bad for the baby’s future health and could also mean certain pregnancy complications.
Guidelines for pregnancy weight gain
Women who are underweight can gain between 28 and 40 pounds safely during pregnancy. The increase should be at the rate of 1 pound to 1.3 pounds a week.
The recommended pregnancy weight gain for women whose weight is in the normal ranges is between 25 to 35 lbs. The weight should be gained no faster than a pound a week.
Women who are overweight should only gain between 15 and 25 lbs. and the weight gain should be slow or no more than half a pound a week.
Obese women should gain only 11 to 20 pounds during their pregnancy and the weight gain should be slow.
Tips to keep weight gain in check during pregnancy
It goes without saying that pregnant women need to eat a healthy diet that is less calorific and more nutrient dense. There is no need to eat for two.
According to recommendations, most women don’t need to significantly increase their caloric intake during pregnancy. All that may be required is to increase caloric intake by just increasing the caloric intake by 200 to 300 calories in the second and third trimesters.
Take exercise for 15 to 30 minutes most days. Reduce intake of sweetened drinks and replace with plain water or unsweetened whole fruit juices.