Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weight Gain in Pregnancy Sets A Pace for Obesity

Pregnancy is an exciting time as expectant moms and dads look forward to the arrival of their new baby. They make preparations such as planning out the nursery, choosing parenting techniques, and selecting names.  Moms to be often stress about their ability to be a good parent. One of the things expectant mothers need to be aware of nowadays is weight gain in pregnancy and how it can affect them in the future and their child.

Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is associated with long-term obesity for mothers, who are more likely to be overweight or obese 21 years of less after giving birth. Not to mention the added excessive weight gained with each following pregnancy.

 A study led by Dr. Abdullah Mamun, at the University of Queensland, Autstralia says, "Weight gain during pregnancy independently predicts the long-term weight gain and obesity of women. Our study found that that excessive weight gain in pregnancy has profound long lasting impact on the future development of obesity."

The study used more than 7000 mothers and their children born at Brisbane's Mater Hospital during 1981-83. Using a database of records with the women's weight before pregnancy, and the maximum weight gain before giving birth, researchers were able to calculate the amount of weight gain throughout pregnancy.  Of the 2026 women included in the study, 33 percent gained excessive weight, 41 percent gained sufficient weight and 26 percent gained insufficient weight during pregnancy. The average weight gain for mothers participating in the study was 32.4 pounds per week.  According to Dr. Abdullah, these women were 4.5 times more likely to be over weight or obese even 21 years after giving birth.

Such factors including maternal age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, education level, smoking habits, television watching, hypertensive disorder, diabetes, method of delivery, duration of breastfeeding and menopausal status were taken into consideration, but had no altering effects on the study.

Professor Leonie Callaway said it is possible that some of these women who had excessive weight gain in pregnancy might be metabolically prone to this, and even without a pregnancy, might have ended up gaining weight at a quicker rate over time.

However,  increased awareness and knowledge about the implications of weight gain during and prior to pregnancy can be an effective tool.

1.  Awareness of a healthy diet and keeping fit prior to pregnancy.

2. Maintaining a fitness regime and healthy eating habits from as young an age as possible.

3. Being fit and of a healthy weight prior to pregnancy. 

4.  An awareness of documented information on pregnancy as opposed to old wives tales handed down through generations.

5.  Maintaining a fitness regime throughout pregnancy - much of this depends on a woman's fitness level prior to pregnancy and should always be arranged by a health professional familiar with keeping fit during pregnancy.

6.  Losing unwanted pounds within 6 months following delivery. Be cautious here as rapid weight loss can effect breast feeding practices.  The weight loss should be on a healthy level and properly administered through proper diet and exercise.

7.  Breast feeding as opposed to bottle feeding, or at least incorporating both methods if necessary, as breast feeding lessons calories and also helps protect against breast cancer.

In a previous research Dr. Mamun found that children whose mothers had unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy were more likely to be overweight or obese in childhood and adulthood. This is actually not a new finding, as there is plenty of research to support this idea and in fact most of us can already notice that over weight moms and dads often have overweight kids as well. Much of this is also the lack of introducing a healthy lifestyle to themselves and their children, causing a chain reaction throughout the family history.

Regardless of the situation, moms and moms to be need to be aware of the replications on themselves and their children should they be overweight prior to pregnancy and further gaining weight throughout their pregnancy. Weight gain in pregnancy should be at an amount that is normal for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.  Awareness and education of a healthy, active lifestyle prior to and during pregnancy can massively assist in unwanted excessive weight gain in pregnancy.

Never underestimate the power of a healthy diet - a lifestyle change that will positively effect everything you do and experience in this life.


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