Healthy weight gain in pregnancy is important
In the past 30 years, obesity in children has more than doubled, and in adolescents it has quadrupled. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of kids were overweight and obese in 2012. One problem with this is that these young people are now at risk for being an obese adult and that can bring along numerous health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
A study of over 15,000 women who delivered babies at Kaiser Permanente facilities made some interesting connections between the mother’s weight gain in pregnancy and the future obesity risks for their babies.
What is considered an excessive weight gain during pregnancy?
- A healthy weight woman at the start of pregnancy: gaining 35 pounds or more
- An overweight woman at the start of pregnancy: gaining 25 pounds or more
- An obese woman at the start of pregnancy: gaining 20 pounds or more
There were some interesting findings from this study.
- If a mother is either overweight or obese during pregnancy, her child’s risk for developing obesity by age two is increased.
- If the mother breastfeeds her baby, no matter what her weight is during pregnancy, there is a lower risk of her baby becoming an overweight child by age two. Nursing is recommended for at least the first six months of life.
The future health of a baby really does start with the health of the pregnant mom. Both obesity and overweight of the mom put a baby at risk for future weight issues, even by age two. A good health plan for her baby is for a woman who expects to become pregnant to reach and achieve a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. Once pregnant, have a weight gain discussion with your obstetrician to know how much weight you should safely gain.
Tips to reach and maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy:
- Include a wide variety of foods, especially fruits, vegetables and whole-grains
- Drink mostly non-calorie beverages such as water
- Eat three meals a day, with small healthy snacks
- Enjoy a daily walk