For women of all shapes and sizes, gaining excessive weight during pregnancy puts their child at risk of becoming obese, warns a new study from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Research Institute.
“We have known for some time that the larger you are, the larger your baby,” said study co-author and University of Ottawa PhD student, Zach Ferraro. “But average weight women who gain lots of weight during pregnancy are also at risk.”
Women of average weight who gain more than 25 lbs and overweight women who gain more than 11 lbs, are significantly more likely to give birth to a child with increased fat stores in their body that they will carry for life, said the study published today in the Journal of Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.
For expecting moms it’s important to remember that you’re eating for two, not eating like two, Ferraro said. “You don’t need to increase your caloric intake that much during pregnancy. Typically it’s just like eating an extra bagel, which is about 200 calories.”
With expecting mothers across Canada doing less physical activity and spending more screen time with computers and other devices, Ferraro said, sedentary activities need to be broken up with bouts of light physical activity at least two days a week for 15 minutes.
“Mothers shouldn’t be afraid of physical activity,” he said. “And they also to speak to a registered dietician to try to address any underlying causes of excessive weight gain.”
“Unfortunately, delivering a large baby increases the risk for many delivery related complications in both mom and baby,” Ferraro said. But the take away is that eating right and in moderation and staying active will lead to healthier outcomes.