Pregnancy Weight Gain: Are You Dooming Your Child to Obesity?

Megan Van Schaick

Pregnancy Weight Gain

Watch what you eat, don’t consume too much sugar, get plenty of exercise ... the soundtrack to our lives, right?

Women hear these phrases even more when they are pregnant -- and for a good reason. Keeping your weight gain to a minimum waaaay reduces your risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia -- which, while temporary, can be dangerous to both you and your baby.

A new study out this week shows that there is yet another reason to keep your own weight in check during your pregnancy. Not doing so could have implications on your child far beyond the womb, perhaps even causing them to be heavier into childhood.

Until now, no one was sure if heavier mothers had bigger babies because of environmental (the weight gain) or genetic factors. This study conducted by Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston and Janet Currie of Columbia University sheds new light on the situation.

Compared with women who gained a healthy amount of weight (anywhere from 18 to 25 pounds), women who gained roughly twice that were almost twice as likely to have a high birth weight baby (a baby weighing more than 8.8 pounds). That percentage only increased with the amount of weight added by the mother. In turn, babies with a high birth weight have been shown to be more at risk for weight problems throughout their lives, as well as other potential problems like asthma and cancer.

With childhood obesity on the rise -- and on the national agenda, thanks to Mama Obama -- experts say that the best place to start the fight against fat is in the womb.

My take? The news of this study is spreading like wildfire and sounds really very alarming. But, when you break it all down, it’s really quite simple. The researchers aren’t really saying anything new: Watch what you eat, don’t consume too much sugar, get plenty of exercise.

Sound familiar?


Image via rockerchic/CafeMom

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