Women who accumulate too many kilograms during pregnancy may give birth to overweight babies, regardless of genetic factors, according to a large American study published in British medical journal The Lancet, AFP informs.
Doctors David Ludwig, of Paediatric Hospital in Boston, and Janet Currie, of Columbia University in New York studied the records of all births in Michigan and New Jersey from January 1, 1989 to December 31, 2003. They counted more than one million births, and more than 500,000 women participated in their study.
The authors of the study analyzed more pregnancies of the same women, to exclude the influence of genetic factors, reports Times Magazine. Researchers compared the weight gain during pregnancy and the weight at birth weight between siblings to control the genetic factor.
Babies whose mothers had gained 24 pounds during pregnancy, weighed about 150 grams more at birth than the babies whose mothers have only gained 8-10 kg. Women who gained more than 24 kilograms face a two-fold higher risk of giving birth to a baby over 4 kg, compared with women who gained only 8-10 kg.
“As a high weight at birth is an indicator of future body mass index (BMI – weight divided by the square of height) of a person, these results suggest that an excessive increase in weight during pregnancy can cause on the long-term an increase in the risk oftriggering obesity-related diseases”, the authors of the study concluded.
Also, pregnant women who eat for two put their health at risk and will be affected for a longer period. Thus, pregnant women who eat more are more likely to become obese.
Obesity can cut up to nine years of a person’s life and increases the risk of developing health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, infertility, depression and some types of cancer, states Daily Mail.
Experts believe that there is a great emphasis on providing an ideal weight of child at birth so that the mother’s health after birth is often neglected. The study was done on 2,000 pregnant women, since 1980. These women were tested again after 21 years.
Dr. Abdullah Al Ma’mun, of the University of Queensland, said this is the first study showing that weight accumulated during pregnancy tends to persist over years and affect the mother’s health.
How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?
Professor Philip James says that in the past 40 years the whole question of weight gain during pregnancy was based on child health care. “In a clinic that treats obesity, 80% of patients are women. Many years ago I heard from many of these women that they have had health problems after gaining weight during pregnancy,” said the teacher.
Traditionally, women were advised to gain weight during pregnancy, but in February, following a study, pregnant women were advised not to increase the calorie intake in the last three months of pregnancy, when they only need an extra 200 calories, the equivalent of a small sandwich.
Another study showed that women of normal weight are recommended not to gain more than 16 kg during pregnancy, the overweighted ones – no more than 11.5 kg and the obese ones – no more than 9 kg.