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Too Much Pregnancy Weight Gain Could Lead to Obese Children

Update Date: Jul 18, 2013 02:46 PM EDT

When women go through the nine month long pregnancy, certain food cravings might arise. For pregnant women, complying with these cravings can lead to instant gratification and relief. Often times, others believe that expectant mothers should eat as much as they want since the nutrients help with fetal growth. A new study, however, recommends that mothers should not take the idiom, "eating for two" too literally. This study found that women who gained more weight during the gestation period were more likely to have an obese child.

"Infants who are larger at birth tend to become larger children, and that creates a risk for developing into obese and overweight children and adults," Dr. Margie Davenport, the lead researcher of the study said.

The study looked at 172 expecting mothers from Ontario, Canada. The data was gathered from 1995 to 2011. The researchers noted that over 50 percent of the mothers gained an excessive amount of weight during their pregnancies. Weight gain during the first half of the pregnancies appeared to have a larger effect on the unborn child. Women who experienced weight gain at the beginning were 2.7 times more likely to have an obese baby with over 14 percent body fat.

"Expectant mothers and health professionals need to be aware of pregnancy weight-gain guidelines and follow them to build a foundation for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby," Davenport explained.

"People feel like they've been given an allowance to eat whatever they want, and that can lead to weight gain," added pregnancy and diet expert Sarah O'Hara according to Daily Mail. "For many mothers, eating for two is taken too literally."

Not only do obese babies tend to become obese children and then obese adults, excessive weight gain can lead to birth complications, such as emergency Cesarean sections (C-section). Emergency C-sections have been tied to complicated pregnancies and births later on for the mother. Weight gain during pregnancy can also become weight that is never lost. This leaves both mother and child with obesity, which can jeopardize health. The researchers hope that their study reminds women to eat healthily during their pregnancies and to discuss pregnancy weight gain with their doctors.

The study was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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